Top athletes to compete in Ultraman

Top endurance athletes from around the world will be in the South Okanagan and Similkameen for the Ultraman Canada event.

Top endurance athletes from around the world will be in the South Okanagan and Similkameen on the August long weekend for the Ultraman Canada event.

The three-day event, similar in structure to the Ironman Canada triathlon, covers 512.6 kilometres.

This year, 31 athletes from eight countries are entered.

The event begins on Aug. 4 with a 10-kilometre swim in Skaha Lake and a 145-kilometre bike ride, which ends in Okanagan Falls.

The second day is a 275-kilometre bike ride which begins in Penticton and ends in Princeton.

The third day is an 84-kilometre run from Princeton to Summerland.

Steve Brown, race director for the event, said the event has been in place since 1993.

Last year, 34 athletes participated.

He said in the early days of the event, the finish rate was around 40 per cent. Today, with better conditioning for the athletes, better training and better nutrition, more than 90 per cent will finish the three-day course.

“We have qualifying standards,” he said. “People coming into the event are qualified to take it on.”

Brown said athletes, their support crews and volunteers will add up to 150 to 200 people.

He added that the event is not just a physical challenge for the competitors.

“It’s more of a journey for the athletes and their crews,” he said.

“These people are pushing the limits of what they can be doing.”

Because summer weather conditions are uncertain, competitors could face cool and windy weather or extreme heat.

At one event, temperatures climbed into the low 40s when the athletes were on the Richter Pass outside of Osoyoos.

Despite the grueling nature of the event, it continues to gain popularity. Brown already has heard from at least 20 people who are ready to apply for the 2013 Ultraman Canada event.

The endurance event is one of three in the world and it is a qualifier for the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii.

The finish line is in Memorial Park in Summerland, starting around 1:30 p.m.

Additional information on the event and athletes is available at ultramancanada.com.

 

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