Chris McCormack (far right), co-founder of the Super League Triathlon poses for a selfie under the race finish line. Steve Kidd/Western News

Smoke cancels Super League Penticton, organizers give pros a gift

Super League Penticton organizers decide to send all pro competitors to championship

Despite having got the news that all the remaining events had been cancelled, there was still lots of excitement around the Super Leauge finish line Sunday.

Smoky skies, with the Air Quality Health Index rising above the 10 (High Risk) on the scale, forced organizers of the inaugural event to cancel the pro division races yesterday afternoon, and on Sunday morning, they decided to cancel them all.

With no races, it looked like none of the pros were going to have a chance to win one of the “golden tickets” to the Super League Championship series, which begins in September at locations throughout Europe.

Instead, co-founders Chris McCormack and Michael D’Hulst decided to give all the pro athletes another chance.

“The pros came this week chasing what we call the golden ticket, one of five spots to get into the championship series,” said McCormack. “This is a dilemma for us, because it is the last chance to get into the series. So we sat down and thought what could we do, considering many of you have come a long way.

“I would like to say to all the pros, we would like to invite you all to Jersey.”

It’s not a golden ticket, he explained but another chance to win a spot in the championships, by competing in the first of the championship Super League events, on Sept. 28 on the Isle of Jersey.

Nathan Killam is going to be one of those athletes.

“It’s super disappointing we didn’t get a chance to race and earn a golden ticket,” said Killam. “We get a month now, so I am just going to put all my focus into speed and hopefully be ready to beat at least five of these guys in the race in Jersey; hopefully get a golden ticket so I can race in the championship series.”

McCormack said he learned lots about air quality this week.

“We were really dealt a difficult environment here. All the things we were focused on coming in, got pushed aside as we spent our whole time focusing on air quality,” said McCormack.

Deciding not to hold the races was a difficult call, McCormack said.

“You never anticipate this,” he said, indicating the smoky skies obscuring everything more than a few blocks away.

“They all came in, in their best condition, to grab a golden ticket and they weren’t given that opportunity for reasons outside our control. Because of that, the best thing we can do is give them all a chance to showcase their talents in the championship series and progress from there.“

McCormack said that despite having to end this year’s race abruptly, they are hoping to be back next year.

“We loved it here,” he and D’Hulst said, noting good community support, and commitment from the volunteers, despite the difficult conditions. McCormack added that this year’s challenges will help inform next year’s race.

“If you thought this year was good, next year will be even better,” said McCormack.

Related: Kelowna Apple Triathlon and Triathlon Canada cancel Sunday’s races

Related: Air support grounded as fires fill the skies with smoke


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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