With a hole in her shoe and going way off course in the swim portion, Penticton doctor Rebecca Psutka won the female sprint category of the Peach Classic on Sunday after having never competed in a triathlon before.
“I think the seasoned competitors were surprised but no one was more surprised than me,” said Psutka about her win.
“I’m such an amateur. I don’t have a wet suit, I had a hole in my shoe and I also fell unclipping from my bike!”
Psutka came through the finish line with a time of 1:27:37.
“People from the crowd kept shouting at me, ‘you are first’ and I was looking around for who they were saying that too.’”
Psutka has been a physician in Penticton for six years, working in maternity and addictions medicine which she finds very rewarding.
She feels like she hit the lottery when it came to practicing medicine in what she calls one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
She decided to take on the Peach Classic as her first triathlon because she needed a positive goal to focus on. And she wanted to practice what she preaches to her patients, which is to make your mental and physical health a top priority.
“COVID has been really hard on doctors. I was caring for patients who had COVID before there was a vaccine. And then I had a baby in 2021,” she said.
Four other female Penticton physicians joined Psutka in the triathlon and had trained together before the July 17 race.
“They are all moms and placed really well. Mothers are a lot stronger than they know.”
Three of them won in their age category, she said.
Psutka credits the Penticton bike lanes for helping her win the race.
She bikes to work using the bike lanes.
On Sunday, she found herself climbing Vancouver Hill side-by-side with the elite male athletes in the triathlon.
“That felt pretty good,” she said.
Psutka added the positive energy from the crowds and athletes was inspiring.
She called crossing the finish line and seeing her family and training friends cheering her on the best feeling in the world.
Psutka was back at work the next day helping patients.
“I biked to work today,” she said with a laugh.
But now that she’s won the Peach Classic female sprint, has she caught the triathlon bug?
“I might enter another triathlon this summer and if the Peach Classic is around next year, I’m definitely in but this time I will try the regular division,” she said.