— by Kerry Hale

Triathlon Canada recently announced that the Kelowna Apple Triathlon in B.C.’s Okanagan region will play host to the 2019 Canadian Triathlon Championships. Race officials opted for July 6 to 7 to skirt the fire season, which proved particularly problematic in 2018.

“We are thrilled to return to one of Canada’s most coveted triathlon venues for our national championships,” said Kim Van Bruggen, chief executive officer, Triathlon Canada. “This is the lone event of the year that brings all of us in the Triathlon Canada nation together, and I can’t think of a better location to hold the premier event on our domestic race schedule than Kelowna, which has a rich history in staging world-leading triathlon events. We hope to see our nation’s best back on the start line in early July – staying clear of the worst of forest fire season.”

Related: Smoke causes havoc in Kelowna at National Championships

Kelowna, BC during the 2018 forest fires. Photo: Triathlon Canada

The 2018 iteration of the Kelowna Apple Triathlon was cancelled due to poor air quality caused by dense smoke from more than 500 forest fires that raged throughout the region last summer. Organizers hope the earlier event date will avoid such conditions, should this summer be another fire prevalent season.

Related: Triathlon BC 2019 race calendar

The event will see both Canada’s elite triathletes and age-group athletes compete in a variety of races for all ages and abilities throughout the two-day festival, with ITU qualification points on offer. National champions will be crowned in para-, sprint- and standard-distance races. An ITU CAMTRI Continental Cup race – including athletes from North, South and Central America – will also be held, along with specific events for kids, youth, junior and adult Try-a-Tri races.

“We are very excited to welcome athletes back to Kelowna in July for the 36th Apple Triathlon,” says race director Susie Ernsting. “We worked hard this fall to find a date outside of the forest fire season and would like to thank the City of Kelowna, Triathlon Canada and Triathlon B.C. for working with us on this endeavour. We have a great venue and courses for the athletes, and look forward to seeing them all race on the streets of Kelowna in early July.”

With Canada hosting the 2020 World Championships in Edmonton, this year’s Kelowna event will be a significant qualifier for Worlds 2020. Three athletes per age group, per gender, will qualify for Edmonton in the standard triathlon and two per age group, per gender in the sprint triathlon.

This article can be found in our March/April 2019 issue of Triathlon Magazine Canada.

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