Penticton still Canada's home to triathlon says organizer following cancelled event | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Penticton still Canada's home to triathlon says organizer following cancelled event

The Penticton Super League Triathlon says there's no reason to change plans following cancellation of part of the weekend championship event due to wildfire smoke.
August 20, 2018 - 5:00 PM

PENTICTON - The spokesperson for this year’s inaugural Super League Triathlon in Penticton says organizers have no reason to make any changes to plans for next year’s championships.

The event, which was slated to run from Friday, Aug. 17 through Sunday, Aug.19, was cancelled early Saturday afternoon due to smoke-filled Okanagan skies.

Media spokesperson Darren Hailes says Friday’s schedule was completed and a shortened age group amateur race was held Saturday prior to the cancelling of the professional race in the afternoon.

“We still had plans to run the full program on Sunday, but conditions and the weather forecast were not conducive to the health and safety of anyone outside, including athletes, officials and volunteers,” Hailes says.

Hailes says the decision to cancel was based on the weather forecast, consultation with Triathlon B.C. and other governing bodies, based on existing rules.

City of Penticton communications manager Philip Cooper says the agreement with the triathlon organizer included the city providing up in kind services up to $110,000. He says the costs were largely incurred over the weekend even though the final races did not proceed.

“As part of the agreement, the event organizer is required to pay the city $60,000 each year during the term of the agreement (5 years). This year, 2018, was the second last year and the $60,000 was paid by the event organizer in early August. Financial losses would be the responsibility of the event organizer, “ Cooper says in an email statement.

Cooper says it’s too early to know what the cancelled race will mean in terms of economic impacts to the city, or what seemingly perennial issues with smoke will have on triathlon in Penticton. He says the city will be meeting with the organizer later this week to discuss issues related to the race.

Hailes says despite the smoke and the cancellation the new events were positive.

“They loved the location, even though they couldn’t see very far and the racing was a new and dynamic format,” Hailes says.

Friday’s racing took place at the Area 27 Formula one racetrack near Oliver.

“It was the first time the entrants had raced bikes around an F1 track, with B.C. natives Nathan Killam and Rachel McBride topping the podium on Friday,” Hailes says.

A field of 27 professional athletes only managed to get through one of three races scheduled. The race was a qualifier for the global super league championship series, and Hailes says the organization has decided to take all of this weekend’s professional athletes and put them in first round of the championship series. The top five of this field will remain in the championship series that starts next month on the island of Jersey in the British Isles.

No racing fees will be refunded to any of the "400 or so" athletes who signed up in each race, he says.

Hailes says expenditures were already committed for the race and the organization made the best of a bad situation by bringing all the racers down to Gyro Park and handing out finisher award medals and T-shirts on Sunday.

"Penticton is home of triathlon in Canada. The sport is evolving, as are races here in Penticton. We have no reason to make any changes to our future plans. This year’s format was positive, feedback we’ve had from people indicate they understand why we made the decisions we did,” Hailes says

There was understandable disappointment as people had invested a lot of money and time into training, as well as in getting to Penticton from 19 different countries, he says.

“People are looking forward to coming next year. It doesn’t look like it dampened any spirits,” he says.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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