Mayor proud of the race the city ran

Kelowna Mayor, Walter Gray, still believes Ironman Canada should be held in the Okanagan.

Unfortunately, officials with the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) don't agree.

The WTC awarded the 2013 race to Whistler Thursday afternoon.

Kelowna and Huntsville, ON. had been in the running to host the event which has, for the past 30 years, been held in Penticton.

While disappointed at losing out on the event, Gray says he is also proud of the way the city rallied around the prospect of hosting Ironman.

"The further we got into it the more absorbed we all became, the more excited, the more respect we had for the incredible brand of Ironman," says Gray.

"There were dozens and dozens of people who worked literally night and day for five weeks, weekends included to put together our bid. It was extraordinary, we learned a lot about ourselves as a community."

Gray says he learned how great a host and great community Kelowna would be for Ironman.

"Not to get it is a disappointment. We obviously want to congratulate Whistler but we believe this is the place that Ironman should have landed," added Gray.

While Kelowna will not host Ironman Canada, Gray says there are some positives that came out of the whole experience.

"The first thing we have to do as a community, and we are already part way there in terms of developing a strategy, is to address the very urgent part of any major event and that is the volunteer core," says Gray.

"Whether it's a community oriented event like the Apple Triathlon or it's owned by a corporation for profit, it still requires that grass roots volunteer core. We have to take that energy, commitments, promises and enthusiasm and bottle it and then package it for some other great events or events."

Castanet asked the mayor if the city will go for a 70.3 race (half Ironman), Gray says it's possible.  

"Certainly that is something that should be and needs to be thought of because why would we waste all of that energy and all that we've done in terms of preparing ourselves and not, at the end of the day, consider the back-up," says Gray.

"It's not a bad idea."

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