Kelowna  

Apple triathlon kicks off

Nearly 1,200 athletes and 1,100 volunteers are gearing up for the Pushor Mitchell Apple triathlon this weekend in Kelowna. 

This is the 32nd year of the annual triathlon which kicks off on Friday.

By 2 p.m. Friday afternoon, boxes of apples abounded and vendors were beginning to set up, including several bike-health stations making sure tires were pumped, chains were oiled and gears were changing before race day. 

The first event on Friday is an aquathon which involves two swims and a running section, then a kid's fun run and the day ends with an open water swim at Tugboat Beach. 

Activities continue on Saturday with Kids of Steel, the Try-a-Tri U-16 event, Junior Elites, the Can-Am Series Paratriathlete Sprint Race and a 5 kilometre open water swim.

Sunday sees the Sprint and Olympic distances for teams, age-groupers and the highlight event, the 2014 Kelowna PATCO Sprint Triathlon Premium Pan American Cup

Sunday's elite races are ratified by the International Triathlon Union. Seven countries are represented by 32 elite men and 18 elite women for the big race.

Canada's Paula Findlay, 25, will be in Sunday's elite race and is the only racer to have competed in both the junior elite and elite Apple triathlons.

Apple Triathlon's media director, Jeannette Hoft said the race is about catering to "all ages and all stages" of racer. 

She said no one exemplifies that as much as Ray Colliver, 81, originally from England. Colliver said he has done this particular race 23 times and had some advice for younger racers. "Stay focused, join groups for their advice and don't do too much. Start slowly and work up."

Participants such as Australia's Kira Hedgeland have come across the world for this triathlon. 

Hedgeland's sister Jaz, whom Kira says she has never defeated in a race, was also supposed to be competing this weekend but had to drop out due to injury. 

"It's a bit bittersweet," she said. The two support one another, but Kira is looking for her first win over her older sister she said.

Due to the race there are a series of road closures in effect for the weekend. Find the complete list here.

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