Age Group Slots: 70, Pro Slots: 10
When the cannon called "Maranatha" fires at 7AM on the last Sunday before Labor Day, more than 2,000 athletes will embark on the long day that includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile marathon run in Penticton, British Columbia. Since it began as an "ultra-distance" event in 1983, Ironman Canada has been a popular fixture on the triathlon "map".
The race starts at Okanagan Lake Beach, which offers one of the widest swim starts of any Ironman race in the world ... a necessary feature, considering Sunday's race will likely have more people heading off at once than any other Ironman!
After exiting the water the riders start the bike course with a gradual climb up Penticton's Main Street. Apart from one significant hill at about the 10-mile point (McLean Creek Road), the first 30 miles of the course are relatively flat or downhill. It is one of the most beautiful bike courses in the world - the athletes enjoy incredible views of mountains and lakes almost throughout the ride -- but all that great scenery can distract the riders from the task at hand -- getting through those major climbs and descents!
Like the bike course, the run course is incredibly beautiful, but it also has its challenges! Even with the thousands of athletes, spectators, and volunteers that line the course, it is the beautiful scenery along this run course that stands out. The wonderful views provide a welcome distraction to the pain of the race!