This year's Challenge race a more subdued occasion

The banners that are part of the "Roll out the red carpet" campaign on Penticton's Main Street are late being placed this year prior to the 2017 Challenge Penticton race this Sunday, July 21, 2017.

PENTICTON - This year’s Challenge Penticton promises to be a low-impact, low-key affair with changes to course distance and limits to number of entrants.

Challenge Penticton Executive Director Michael Brown told Penticton City Council Tuesday, July 18, the 2017 version of Challenge is to be a test course for the upcoming Penticton ITU Multisport Championship Festival, scheduled to begin Aug.18.

He said he felt Challenge should go on this year, but limited entrants to 500, making a request to council to transfer $65,000 in in-kind funding earmarked for Challenge to the ITU festival.

Lead up to this year’s Challenge single day event is noticeably lacking in the city. As of Thursday, July 20, none of the “Roll out the Red Carpet" banners could be seen on Main Street, where prior years saw displays draping City Hall, Main Street and Okanagan Lake Park.

According to city officials, the banners were being placed on Lakeshore Drive Friday afternoon, July 21, with more being placed Saturday.

The Challenge Penticton Facebook page was still seeking race marshalls on Friday morning as well.

This year’s event is being referred to as an open course, with fewer road closures than past year’s race under a new half distance format that includes a 1.5 km swim, 46.5 km bike and 10.5 km run.

Parts of Main Street, Wade Avenue, Government Street, Dawson Avenue and South Main Street will be closed on Sunday, July 23 from 5 a.m until 12:30 p.m., but the rest of the course will be open, including Eastside Road and McLean Creek Road in Okanagan Falls.

Access points to cross Government Street will be restricted everywhere except at Eckhardt, Duncan, Carmi, Industrial and Warren Avenues, where the intersections will be controlled by flaggers.

South Main will be controlled at Green Avenue, and Main Street will be restricted to crossings at Westminster and Nanaimo Avenues.

The race also utilizes the channel walkway, which will be open to the public during the race.

More information on road closures and the race route can be found on the Challenge website.

Motorists are asked to watch for athletes, slow down, give space when passing, and drive cautiously.

The weather forecast for Sunday’s race shows a mix of sun and clouds with a high of 32 degrees.

An air quality alert for smoke is currently in effect for the South Okanagan, with smoke anticipated or occurring.

The alert will remain in effect until further notice.

Last year's view of Main Street and City Hall in the days leading up to Challenge Penticton 2016.
Last year's view of Main Street and City Hall in the days leading up to Challenge Penticton 2016.

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