Penticton and South Okanagan
CEO believes triathlon will grow
Aug 23, 2013 / 12:30 pm
Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshofer told a crowd gathered at the Penticton Lakeside Resort Thursday that he was humbled to be in the city and happy to see everything falling into place.
The CEO joined pro athletes, triathlete Mark Allen and others at the media event held during the festivities leading up to the inaugural Challenge Penticton Canada triathlon in the city on Sunday.
"I want to say a huge thank you to the city," he said. "They all voted pro Challenge and have been so supportive, and it is awesome to see everything unfolding now."
He compared Penticton to the town of Roth, Germany, where the Challenge Roth triathlon is held, saying he expects the event will grow in the city, just as it has in Germany.
"Yes the numbers are down, but In the town of Roth, we decided to part from Ironman and concentrate on the community, and there are 5,000 to 6,000 athletes now there," he said. "This is clearly the road for Penticton. We will grow it year by year."
Currently there are about 1,400 athletes registered for the race, compared to the close to 3,000 who participated in Ironman in 2012. Penticton parted ways with Ironman last year and the Ironman Canada event is now being held in Whistler on the same day.
While there may be fewer athletes for the first go around, Walchschofer said he was pleased with the pro field that has assembled for the event --including several who were on hand Thursday morning.
Steve King, the announcer on race day, introduced the athletes from Canada, the U.S., Germany, Australia and New Zealand and shared a little of their background before turning the microphone over to them.
Chris McCormack stated he had always been a supporter of Challenge and said when when he thinks of Canada, he thinks of triathletes Simon Whitfield and Peter Reid and Penticton.
"Penticton will always be the home of triathlons in Canada," he said.
Scott De Filippis from the U.S. named Penticton as one of the places he always wanted to go, and said he can see why Challenge wanted to come here.
While Jamie Whyte stressed that the city is well known back home in New Zealand.
The professional athletes will all benefit from a prize purse of more than $75,000 with a prize purse paying down to 10th place.
In addition to pros taking on the challenging course, relay teams will be introduced in 2013 with the goal of exposing more athletes to the sport.
The course itself includes a swim in Okanagan lake, a bike course with two significant climbs at Richter Pass and Yellow Lake (with elevation ascents over 210 metres high) and a run including an out-and-back along Skaha Lake to the south.
"We are about to make history with Challenge's arrival in North America," said Paulette Rennie, Challenge Penticton Canada president. "And we cannot wait to see a new chapter in the sport of triathlon unfold."
Read more Penticton / S. Okanagan News
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Summerland Chamber & Tourism
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School District 67 - Okanagan Skaha
School District 53 - Okanagan Similkameen
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