Taking Ironman racing to a whole different level is Ultraman Canada, in Penticton, B.C. Since 1993, the three-day race covers a total distance of 512.6 km. Day one consists of a 10 km swim immediately followed by a 144.8 km bike ride that includes a climb up Richter Pass. The second day is all cycling, with competitors covering 273.5 km, from Penticton to Princeton. The final day of racing features an epic 84.3 km run that starts in Princeton and ends in Summerland.
London, Ontario’s Barbi Brochu was first out of the water and set a new women’s course record (2:42:41) in the process. Fourth in the swim was the first male, Brazil’s Milton De Sousa (3:02:15). After the 144.8 km bike ride, the leaders from day one were Josef Ajram of Spain (7:46:59) and Brochu (7:48:21). On a hot and windy day two, Ajram had another great ride (8:54:15) to hold on to the race lead (16:41:14). Brochu would surrender the lead to Reno, Nevada’s Amber Monforte, who rode a record 9:14:22 to move into first (17:05:36).
On the last day of the competition, Spain’s Benat Zubillaga ran 6:44:06 for the 84.3 km course to set a new record time, besting the previous record by close to 11 minutes. The 29-year old easily became the Ultraman Canada Champion with a final time of 24:18:28. Brazil’s Milton De Sousa was second (24:48:51) and Spain’s Ajram managed to hold on to third (25:03:04). Wolfgang Schmidt, 48, was the top Canadian in tenth overall (29:11:16). For the women, 31-year old Monforte held onto the day two lead, ran 8:31:13, and set a new women’s overall course record by over 3.5 hours (25:36:49). Brochu ran steady to hold on to second (27:16:00), and San Diego’s Andi Ramer finished in third (28:43:47). Team Peach City Runners (Penticton’s Ellis Andrews and Brian Schroeder) won the relay division by more than four hours (27:46:38). This year’s 19 individual finishers were the highest ever for the event. India’s Anuradha Vaidyanathan was the first Ultraman Canada finisher from that country. Next year’s event is slated for July 30 to August 3, 2010.