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Penticton News

City hands Challenge reins over to new stewardship

Mayor Garry Litke (left) and Kevin Cutjar address the media Tuesday.

PENTICTON - Challenge Penticton is officially under the new leadership of triathlon experts Kevin Cutjar and Michael Brown.

Cutjar and Brown won the city’s bid this spring to take the Challenge reins and steer the competition in the right direction. The team will invest $300,000 over five years—the length of the new contract with the City and Challenge Family.

The province has also given $125,000 to the race as part of a grant, that will go towards paying off the race’s deficit from the first year.

And while the city no longer has a stake in the race agreement, it will continue to provide support like allowing road closures on race day, Mayor Garry Litke says.

Cutjar said he and Brown plan to build on the success the organizers and community have had with the race so far, as well as add their own touch of expertise and connections.

Cutjar and Brown both know what it takes to organize a successful race—they’re both triathlon coaches (Cutjar trains two-time Challenge winner Jeff Symonds) and have both participated in numerous races in their time.

They plan to use their connections in the triathlon world to spread the word about Challenge and recruit more athletes, as well as promote Penticton as an ideal place to train and race, Cutjar said.

He said people have “reset” after the change from IronMan to Challenge, when IronMan didn’t renew its contract with the city three years ago. And the race will succeed over time as more people start coming to town. He cites the international prestige of the original Challenge Roth of Roth, Germany.

“Anyone in the triathlon world knows (Challenge Roth) is a phenomenal race,” Cutjar said. “We can be the Challenge Roth of North America.”

To contact the reporter for this story, email Meaghan Archer at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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