It’s that time of year…when, after 29 years, Suburu Ironman Canada descends upon our town with a flush of fever and excitement, advancing its legacy as Penticton’s leading tourism appeal. Myriad of emotions swell like a ripping current through the air. The whole region is abuzz with sensation. Like a receding tide of what’s to come, the world seems to withdraw, awaiting the roaring rush of an exhale – when the simmering complex of anxiety, prospect, determination, dedication, struggle and perseverance, boils over to devour the senses and send everything spinning. Athletes and non-athletes alike, rejoice in the coming together of many different people, from many different walks of life, hailing from many different places worldwide. The business of Ironman is more than just an exciting race, it is a livelihood, an upsurge of energy, a spike in the local host economy, an accelerator of collective cooperation within the community… In not so many words, Ironman for Penticton, is what a ginseng shot does for a fatigued system. Yes, it’s true, the spice of the late season has a biting affect on the spirit of any community – it’s late summer – and we are full-bellied and dizzy from too much of everything – yet the Ironman defibrillator jump-starts a renewed enthusiasm back into the body of our general public. Everyone seems to benefit one way or another from the contingency of the franchise, like rain that gives life to earth, we can see a flowering of business all around – from our petrol stations, to the full occupancy in our hotels and restaurants, to the queues at our local cafes and ice cream parlors; from the merchandise purchased at our local boutiques, to the pounds of fresh organic produce bought at our roadside fruit stands and markets – during Ironman week, the South Okanagan sees a short-lived revival of all the summer’s glory packed into one full jaunt of exhilaration and excitement! A recent study looked at the economic impact of Suburu Ironman Canada on Penticton’s local economy, which revealed that from 2004, the estimated revenue is believed to be around $12.5 million. With each Ironman participant bringing with them, on average, three and a half guests, and staying roughly seven days, this sudden swell of a visiting populous, one third the size of Penticton’s overall population, has undoubtedly a lasting affect on our community’s socioeconomic landscape. It not only stimulates local tourism and business – but reshapes, molds and creates an affirming, outwardly projected vibe and energy about our town that is carried forth into a greater, worldwide consciousness. Therefore it’s safe to say Suburu Ironman Canada, as a franchise, is not only one of the most iconic events in the South Okanagan, but is the fire engine to our local economy. While athletes from all around the world come together to compete in one of the toughest, most grueling international races, we, Pentictonites, not only get the chance to showcase the true quality of our lifestyle on the world’s stage, but we also get to partake and contribute to this unbelievably unique experience, which only such spectacles as the Suburu Ironman Canada can truly produce!

-Elizabeth Cucnik