The motivations differ for Penticton’s Bruce Schoenne and Dave Matheson as they prepare for Ultraman Canada set for Aug. 3-5.
They are two of 29 athletes preparing for a three-day journey that is 514.5-kilometers of swimming, biking and running.
For Schoenne, the motivation is it will be a second attempt to conquer the triathlon.
“Unfortunately last year, I was 20 kilometers short of finishing the run on the final day due to some health issues,” he said of the day, which is an 84.4-km run to Summerland along the Old Princeton-Summerland Road. The athletes finish at Memorial Park in Summerland. “If you had asked me last year, I’d go, I don’t know, just something to do.”
Schoenne, an investment advisor/appraiser also involved with Challenge Penticton, said he wants to prove he can complete the event. He said to some people, that final 20 km may sound like a long way, but to him it wasn’t, considering that the first two days he completed a 10 km swim in Skaha Lake from Penticton to Sovereign Road near Okanagan Falls, followed by a 144.8-km bike ride through the south Okanagan, over the Richter Pass and finishing in Kenyon Park in OK Falls. The second day has competitors cycling 274.2 km from Penticton to Osoyoos, returning to OK Falls, then climb ‘The Wall’ to Willowbrook and Twin Lakes on their way to Princeton, taking a side trip to Alison Lake before finishing at the Princeton Arena.
“I was concerned with my health, I just lost a lot of weight and it’s not worth it that much,” he said, adding that he has learned to take care of his body better.
Schoenne laughed at the fact he describes the other participants as “weird” and him not being like them.
“It’s a whole different set of people,” he continued. “They are an amazing bunch of people that can do that kind of commitment all year. Just to finish something like that is unbelievable.”
Matheson is motivated by curiosity. A long distance triathlete for 12 years, Matheson views the Ultraman Canada, sponsored by IGA Signs, as a new challenge.
“It feels kind of like it’s the next stage,” said Matheson, an accountant with Revenue Canada. “I’ve actually been wanting to do the event for a number of years now. I have been involved three times in the past as a crew member. Every time I’ve done that, I’ve kind of been inspired by it.”
Schoenne and Matheson will be joined by five men capable of winning. Inaki De La Parra of Mexico won last year’s Ultraman United Kingdom and is considered among the favourites. Also in the mix are former winner John Bergen and newcomers Craig Percival of Australia and Christian Isakson of Portland, Ore.
The women’s race has five participants, including West Kelowna’s Kathleen Wood.
To participate, athletes must have completed at least one Ironman distance race in under 14.5 hours in the previous 18 months.
Local residents are invited to witness the end of all stages as follows: Stage 1 at Kenyon Park in Okanagan Fall at approximately 2 p.m. on Aug. 3. Stage 2 at the Princeton Arena at approximately 3 p.m. on Aug. 4, and Stage 3 in Summerland’s Memorial Park at around 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 5.
The Ultraman family of events is welcoming a new event in Orlando, Fla. for February 2014. This will bring the total number of Ultraman Events to four including Ultraman UK and the Ultraman World Championships, Hawaii.
Ultraman notes: The IGA in Okanagan Falls and H.Y. Louie is a gold sponsor for the event and will be supporting athletes, support crews and volunteers with food and hydration products.