A total of 201 triathletes, from rookies to national team athletes, started in the waters of Okanagan Lake for the 5th Paradigm Naturopathic Kids of Steel Triathlon.
Originally scheduled for June, the race had to be postponed due to flood conditions at Kin Beach. The September iteration was the final event of the year for the hotly contested Youth/Junior Provincial series and also served as the Provincial Championships for 16-19 elite level Junior athletes.
Said race director Laura Medcalf: “A highlight for me was seeing our local Tri Monster Junior squad of 16-19 year old athletes finish their Provincial Championship race and head straight to the Splash and Dash to lead the nervous three-to-five-year-old first-timers through their run course as ‘big buddies’.”
Medcalf said the strong sense of community was also evident in the residents and volunteers who gave of their time to help the event unfold without a hitch, despite having to change the swim course due to a sinking boat.
Local residents played a critical role as they were very patient with the traffic delays in the area.
“Volunteers really stepped up. We had a full contingent of volunteers for the first time ever. So many local businesses helped us out, including companies like LB Chapman who came to the rescue at the last minute when our previously booked traffic controllers were unable to be at the event. Kalavida Surf shop lent swim buoys and paddle support so all swimmers would be safe,” said Medcalf.
The Tri Monsters Junior team were real contenders and set the bar high in the exciting Draft Legal Event. Braden Kersey, coming back from injury, won the Junior Men’s Provincial Championship as well as the overall win for the Junior Men’s Provincial Series.
Adam Bugera finished second in the Junior Men’s Race. Hannah Mehain captured the gold, defending her 2016 title, while Annika Ariano earned the bronze medal in the Women’s Junior Provincial Championship Race.
“It was a perfect day for racing,” said Ariano. “We had a very competitive draft legal field. Drafting on the bike with my sister Natalya was fun. The highlight for me was helping the young kids in the Splash and Dash.”
Other Tri Monsters who competed in the elite draft legal races were: Natalya Ariano (4th Jr Women), Erin Brown (6th Jr Women), Brody Wright (5th Youth Men), Aidan Eglin (10th Youth Men) and Jack Screen (11th Youth Men).
Six-year-old Jonah Markson, who had competed the previous year in the Splash and Dash, added a 1.5km bike leg along with the 50m swim and 500m run this year.
Said Markson: “It was a lot of fun. I wish it wasn’t over so quickly. I can hardly wait until next year.”
Elite Race Results:
U23 Draft Legal: 300M swim, 10 KM bike, 2.5 KM run
1. Brennen Smith, Victoria, 29:10
2. Hamish Babin, Vancouver, 29:44
3. Carsten Lapointe, Vancouver, 30:22
Junior Draft Legal: 300m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run
Women: 1. Hannah Mehain, Vernon, 33:50
2. Colette Reimer, Victoria, 34:21
Annika Ariano, Vernon, 35:15
Men: 1. Braden Kersey, Vernon, 31:59
Adam Bugera, Vernon, 33:24
Wyatt Schnare, Surrey, 34:27
Youth Draft Legal: 300m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run
1. Sophia Howell, Airdrie, 35:11
2. Jamie Harker, Victoria, 35:40
3. Danielle Leipoldt, Victoria, 35:46
Next year’s race is scheduled for Sept. 9 at the same location.