By Andrea Klassen
Kamloops This Week
Kamloops is facing off against Kelowna again — this time in the race to take over hosting of Ironman Canada.
Organizers of the long-distance triathlon are looking for a new Canadian home for the event, after longtime host Penticton parted ways with the Ironman Canada organization this summer.
Kamloops made the decision to enter a bid in a closed council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, said Mayor Peter Milobar.
If successful, the city would sign a five-year contract with the World Triathlon Corporation, which Milobar estimates would bring about $15 million worth of economic activity to the city.
The race typically attracts 3,000 participants, who Milobar said will spend the better part of a week in Kamloops.
From that field, the top 100 finishers qualify for the Ironman World Championships, held annually in Hawaii.
“It’s very major,” Milobar said.
“A lot of them will want to get that competitive edge, so they’ll come six months out to train.”
The Ironman race includes three legs — a 3.86-kilometre swim, a 180-kilometre cycling route and a marathon-length, 42-kilometre run.
On Monday, Sept. 17, Kelowna announced its intention to bid for the event, while Vernon’s council is expected to make a decision today whether to join the two cities in vying to be host.
While Milobar declined to say what a Kamloops Ironman route might look like, or offer any specifics about the bid, another city councillor has offered his own incentive to bring the triathlon to the Tournament Capital.
“If it comes to Kamloops, I’ll do it,” Coun. Donovan Cavers told media.
A decision from the World Triathlon Corporation is expected in mid-October.