In a few short days it will be time again for the Valley First Challenge here in Penticton, and the whole Okanagan Valley is already buzzing with activity. As the city prepares to welcome the world to the Penticton lakeside community, many athletes are already here, ready to race.

 

Event details

The 2016 Valley First Callenge in Penticton is happening from August 24th through August 28th. It will feature four major events categories: duathlon, aquathlon, cross triathlon, and long course triathlon. Read on for the details within each category.

Duathlon

In the duathlon category athletes will be competing at the national level in a 10 kilometer run, followed by a 40 kilometer bike ride, ending with another 5 kilometers running. This is a truly difficult challenge, and pacing is critical for anyone aiming to become the next Canadian Duathlon National Champion!

Aquathlon

In the aquathlon category, racers swim for 1 kilometer and then run for five kilometers. This race is known as the fast and furious event, with athletes using the first kilometer in the water to focus themselves and take the lead. The remaining five kilometers on land is all about maintaining a breakneck pace and enough of a lead to stay ahead of your competition. If you’re hoping to become the next Canadian Aquathlon National Champion, get ready to race against some serious speed demons on both water and land!

Cross triathlon

The cross triathlon event consists of a 1.5 kilometer swim, followed by a quick 27 kilometers cycling, rounded off with another 10 kilometers running off road. The off road sections of this challenge are filled with spectacular natural beauty—not to mention all of the rugged challenges you’d expect from an off road course. The Canadian Cross Triathlon National Champion is invariably a star athlete who doesn’t mind getting dirty!

Long course triathlon

The long course triathlon event consists of a 3 kilometer swim, followed by a grueling 120 kilometers cycling, with a final 30 kilometers running on foot—for those who can handle it. This is a brand new distance for Challenge Penticton and a serious long course for world-class athletes. To take the title of Canadian Long Course Triathlon National Champion it take stamina, strength, and sheer will power.

One of the nicest things about this event is the stunning natural beauty contests will enjoy as they compete. Swimmers start on the beaches of Okanagan Lake and end up in the transition in the park. From there, racers cycle along the shores of Okanagan Lake, through downtown Penticton, and then through a series of lush, green rolling hills surrounding Skaha Lake. Finally, for the running portion of the event, athletes take the channel that connects Skaha and Okanagan lakes, enjoying the breezes from the lakes and the views.

If winning the title of National Champion isn’t enough, these festival events also serve to qualify athletes for spots in the inaugural International Triathlon Union (ITU) Multisport World Championships Festival. This exciting event will be held on August 18th-27th, 2017 in Penticton. Athletes will compete for 10 qualifying slots, 5 per gender, in each event, for each 5-year age group division.

Two triathlon participants running into the water for swim portion of race.
Two triathlon participants running into the water for swim portion of race.

Why participate in the events?

There are so many great reasons to get involved as an athlete. Canadian athletes can earn their spot in the 2017 ITU World Multisport Championships by participating and return to Penticton next year. Non-Canadian athletes can experience the course that the world will be watching in 2017, and prove their skill and endurance within a world community of athletes. All racers will love competing in Penticton, a triathlon community with decades of long distance history and tons of amazing volunteers.

This brings us to the reasons for getting involved as a volunteer! Penticton has a reputation as a friendly, warm, giving community of people who care deeply about the racing events hosted in their town. Being a volunteer is a fun, exciting experience, and it’s a great feeling joining that community of people who care so much about the city and its events. It’s also a fantastic way to see the races up close and personal, and get involved with the athletes.

Everyone who participates, from athletes to volunteers, gets to enjoy the beautiful weather, warm sunshine and lakes, and fantastic food and wine of the event and the city. Don’t miss out on the experience of really getting involved!

 

This is one of the most exciting events in Penticton, a city which hosts awesome conferences, arts gatherings, food and wine festivals, and other events all year long. This is a don’t miss event, for athletes, food and wine aficionados, and anyone who enjoys great weather and good times.