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(Really) long-distance racing returns with last weekend’s Ultraman Canada

The Ohana spirit returns to Penticton

Photo by: Ultraman Canada Facebook

On a weekend when athletes from around the world were competing for gold in Tokyo, here in Canada, an exclusively Canadian field competed in one of Canada’s most iconic triathlon races. With all safety precautions in place, the three-day long Ultraman Canada Triathlon was held in the south Okanagan from July 23 to 25. The event features a 10 km swim and a 140 km bike on the first day, a 275 km on the second day, and a 84.4 km run on the third day. Although forest fires were threatening in the area, the only course modifications were due to road paving in the Princeton area.

Using his strength on the run, Vancouver’s Barry Berg won the overall race with a time of 23:35. In doing so, Berg also shattered the men’s 50 to 59 age-group record by almost 10 minutes. Second place went to Jon Greyell in 25:40, and placing third was EPIC 5 triathlon finisher Chad Bentley in 27:39. There was one relay team that featured three-time Ultraman Canada finisher, Lucy Ryan, along with Scott McDermott and Kevin Wilson.

There was to be a female participant, Marla Zucht, however, days prior to the event, her husband was in a serious cycling accident and she needed to attend to his injuries. There is good news on this front, however, as he is recovering well and co-race director, Brad Sawa has offered to accompany Zucht on the course at a future date, so she can complete it in order to qualify for the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s race was an all-Canadian affair and featured just six solo competitors and one relay team, but even though the race was short on participants, it was plenty long on positive energy and the race organizers made a point of acknowledging that energy. The community of Okanagan Falls won the Aloha (love) award for the way community members there showed up at the finish line on day one to welcome all of the athletes and provided food for them. The Kokua (help) award went to volunteers Kelly and John Kugi from Penticton, while the Ohana (family) award went to competitor JD Tremblay. Not only did Tremblay complete the double marathon from Princeton to Summerland on the final day, after his race, he went out and ran in with the final finisher of the race. A special mention should be made as well for Lucy Ryan, who put together a relay team at the last minute and whose positive attitude and energy work to ensure the Ohana vibe spread out to the entire Ultraman tribe.

Co-race director, Larry Ryan is already looking forward to hosting the 2022 event, but one job he won’t have to do is marketing –  it has already sold out and will feature 40 triathletes from 10 countries.