Locals gathered to take on the Ironman course in Penticton on Saturday, Aug. 28, despite the event being officially canceled. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

Despite cancellation locals turnout for Penticton Ironman

Over 40 athletes did their own form of the triathlon with proceeds going to charity

Over 40 triathletes tackled their own form of the Penticton Iron Man course last weekend despite the big race being cancelled for 2021.

Plenty of locals came down to the traditional start and finish line at Rotary Park to run the Penticton Iron Man course on Saturday, Aug. 28.

The majority of the triathletes were locals, while a few others were people who had already made their way out to the area when the news came down last week that the competition had been cancelled.

For the locals, the weather was perfect and the weekend was free, so many turned the day into a training opportunity.

READ MORE: Penticton 2021 Ironman cancelled

“There were a lot of locals that still wanted to get together and ride, who train together anyways,” said Dave Michael, one of the co-organizers for the mini Iron Man who did the swim portion on Saturday.

Although they didn’t have the official swim course open at Okanagan Lake, the athletes swam from the Peach to the SS Sicamous and back twice, for the 3.8 kilometres they would have already made.

Unfortunately, an injury prevented Michael from participating in the bicycle portion, which covers 180 km from Penticton down to Osoyoos and over through Keremeos and Willowbrook before returning to Penticton. The three-leg event ends with the 42 km running portion.

“Nobody has really stopped training,” said Michael. “It’s not really for a specific event. Specific events might get postponed, but you’re still going to keep doing the exercise that you want to do, and hopefully next year the race will be on.”

F2C Nutrition assisted the athletes by setting up stations along the course so that they didn’t need to find gas stations to pop into to refill their water bottles along the way.

The weekend also had the support of local restaurant Bogner’s, who provided lunches for the registered athletes with the proceeds going to charity.

The registration fee went to Spirit North — founded by two-time Olympic medalist Beckie Scott — which supports and encourages Indigenous youth to get active and into sports.

Spirit North has had a ski program in the Okanagan, including schools in Penticton, and is now looking at expanding into a cycling program as well.

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Penticton Western News