People from across North America raced to the registration tables in Penticton’s Rotary Park on Tuesday just minutes after the announcement that Subaru Ironman Canada would return to the Peach City in 2020.
Veteran triathlete Diana Roberts said there’s no place like Penticton to race, and she would know as she’s been competing in Ironman events for 30 years.
“My 17th will be in November, in Arizona,” said the Olympia, Wash., resident.
“As (the location of) my first Ironman, I’ve always loved Penticton. I was so sad when it went to Whistler — and I’ve done two Whistlers. It’s not the same.”
Roberts learned of Tuesday’s announcement only the day before and drove seven hours to have a chance to register for the race in person.
“I’m just super-excited. I’ve got my reservations (for hotels) already for next year.”
Roberts said what makes Penticton a fantastic venue is its single-loop course.
“There’s really something special about Penticton,” she said.
Roberts won’t be the only one travelling from afar to participate in Ironman. Deb Kershaw of Edmonton will also be returning to Penticton next year to volunteer.
“We’re super-excited,” said Kershaw. “The hotel is booked.”
While she hasn’t volunteered for Ironman in the past, Kershaw has a long history of travelling throughout Canada to give her time at marathons.
“I’m definitely from the road-running and trail-running community,” she said. “I volunteered for all types of crazy races, from five kilometres through to 32 hours and 250-kilometre races, so I’m very much looking forward to it.
“Instead of destination races, it’s destination volunteering,” she said with a smile.
Professional triathlete Heather Wurtele, who placed second in Subaru Ironman Canada in 2010, said the tragedy of her triathlon career came when the race left the South Okanagan.
“I love this venue,” she said. “I live in Kelowna, so it’s basically in my backyard. Penticton is a fantastic venue.
“Now that it’s back, I think there’s so much history. When you thought of Ironman, you thought Penticton, you thought Kona, Hawaii.”