On the August long weekend, the South Okanagan and Similkameen will host Ultraman Canada, a unique, individual, three-day event consisting of 515 kilometres of swimming, biking and running. This years’ event marks the 14th running since its inception in 1993.
This year’s race features 29 athletes from Canada, the United States, Norway, Australia, Spain, and Malaysia. In order to be invited to this endurance race, competitors must complete at least an iron distance race (226.3km) in under 14.5 hours during the past 18 months.
There are five returning athletes this year, as well as seven who were crew members last year. Vancouverite Mike Romaniuk, a self-professed nerd, noted it was watching Tony Horton in 2012 that helped him commit. As well, California resident and firefighter, Rick Van Tuyl was inspired by Nick Mallett, whom he crewed last year. Van Tuyl decided this was the “crazy thing” he would do when he turned 50.
Ultraman competitors typically have long lists of athletic achievements and this years’ competitors are no exception. Stacia Watson, who hails from California and has cycled around the world, made Ultraman a bucket-list item. Similarly, accomplished multi-sport athlete Chris Willer from Toronto will retire from long distance events following Ultraman Canada. He has competed in triathlons for 16 years. Athlete Lisa Wei-Haas has competed in multi-sports for 22 years, while Australian competitor Melissa Urie is competing since other competitions are no longer enough of a challenge.
Day 1(Aug 2) begins with a 10-km swim in Skaha Lake from Penticton to Sovereign Road near Okanagan Falls. After which, athletes complete a 144.8-km bike ride through the South Okanagan, over the Richter Pass and ending back in Kenyon Park in OK Falls.
Day 2 (Aug 3) continues with competitors cycling a 274.2-km bike route from Penticton to Osoyoos. They return to OK Falls, then climb “The Wall” to Willowbrook and Twin Lakes on their way to Princeton where they complete an out and back section to Alison Lake to finish at the Princeton Arena.
Day 3 (Aug 4) completes the event with an 84.4-km run from Princeton to Summerland along the Old Princeton Summerland Road. The athletes finish at Memorial Park in Summerland.
Local residents are invited to witness the end of all stages as follows: Stage 1, Kenyon Park, Okanagan Falls, approximately 2 p.m.; Stage 2, Princeton Arena, approximately 3 p.m., Stage 3 Memorial Park, Summerland approximately 1:30 p.m.
For the first time we will be offering live streaming of selected portions of the event from www.ultramancanada.com Shaw Cable have been instrumental in providing the appropriate connections for our technical and have made the streaming possible.
The local community has been incredibly supportive of this event, most notably the IGA in OK Falls, Jack Kelly Coffee, The Bike Barn, District of Summerland, Town of Princeton, OK Falls Parks & Recreation, Speedo, Hammer Nutrition, Hoodoo Adventures, Peach City Runners, Impact Canopy, Schoenne Appraisals and Cannery Brewing.