First-time champs at Apple Triathlon
For pretty much every stroke, pedal and step of the way on Sunday, Andrew Russell's thoughts were with one very special person.
The 30-year-old from Revelstoke dedicated his final appearance at the Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon to his terminally ill mom, Ann Russell.
And he couldn't have asked for a better result on a scorching Kelowna afternoon as Russell captured the elite Olympic distance race in one hour 56 minutes 21 seconds.
Russell, who trains in Victoria, finished the 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run nine seconds ahead of fellow Canadian Andrew McCartney of Victoria.
"It means a lot to me," said an emotional Russell minutes after the race. "It's my seventh year in the elite and to win here as close to home as possible, it's a really special moment.
"I really did it for my mom, she's quite sick. And this is the end of my short-course career, so there's no better way to finish it off."
For the first time in five years, the Apple Triathlon didn't serve as the Canadian championships. Coupled with the Olympics being held earlier this month, some of the biggest names in Canadian triathlon, including Simon Whitfield, Kirk Jones and Paula Findlay, didn't compete in Kelowna.
Still, it didn't take any of the sheen off of Ellen Pennock's win in the women's elite race on Sunday.
In her first try at the elite level, the 19-year-old Calgary native and University of Victoria student won the 2012 Apple title convincingly in 2:10:04. American Anna Battiata was second in 2:11:02. Pennock first began coming to the Apple as a 14-year-old when she took part in the Kids of Steel camp.
"In the past, I competed in juniors and always just watched the big girls race," said Pennock. "I was so revved up to compete in the big race for the first time, it was cool to have all the spectators, all the cheers, it was really fun. It was nice to win."
On Saturday, Amelie Kretz of Blainville, Que., won the junior elite female sprint (750m swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run) race in 1:01:22, with Saskatoon's Gabrille Edwards second in 1:02:37.
Oak Bluff, Manitoba's Tyler Mislawchuk won the junior elite men's sprint in 56:11, while Quebec's Alexis Lepage was second in 56:20.
In the new under-16 race (500m swim, 10 km bike and 4 km run) Keisha Belser of Saskatoon won the girls title in 41:15. Kelowna's Keltey Slaney was fifth in 46:23.
In the boys under-16, Delta's Michael Milic won in 37:54. Kelowna's Cordell Dickie placed 11th.
Age group Olympic
Kelowna's Carmelle Guidi-Swan took top spot in the women's age group Olympic distance race on Sunday morning (1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run).
Guidi-Swan (40-44) was 21st overall in 2:23:46.
For the second straight year, Penticton's Tom Evans left the rest of the field in his wake en route to capturing the men's race in 1:58:38.
London, Ontario's Tony Frost was second in 2:07:08. The top Kelowna competitor was Martin Courtenay who was fifth in 2:11:56.
Malindi Elmore of Kelowna took the women's 30 to 34 age group and was 37th overall in 2:18:51, while Kelowna's Laurelee Nelson won the women's 55 to 59 age class and was 65th overall in 2:38:21.
Other age group winners from Kelowna: Ian Crosthwaite, men's 35 to 39; Linda Bourassa, women's 60 to 64; and Valentina Miller, women's 35 to 39.
Age group sprints
In the age group sprints, Vancouver's Craig Dale won the men's event (750 m swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run) in 1:06:15.
Kelowna's Jeffrey Cameron was fourth overall and won the men's 30-34 age group in 1:09:51.
Other age group winners from Kelowna were: Gord McInnes (men's 45 to 49), Warren Isaac (men's 35 to 39), David Lloyd (men's 65 to 69), and Stewart Vogstad (men's 60 to 64).
The women's sprint was won by Erica Moser-Reschreiter of Vernon in 1:13:37.
Victoria Frost was the top Kelowna finisher in 1:16:22.
Kelowna's Pamela Nonis won the women's 35 to 39 group in 1:20:43.
Kelowna's Stephen Busch won the Try a Tri event in 49:16.
The Kids of Steel events Saturday featured 254 competitors in five age divisions.
In the girls 8-9 group, Kelowna's Ella Rolleston was first in 22:28.
In the girls 10-11 division, Jaxon Slaney took top spot in 27:38.
In the girls 12-13 group, Kyra McNutly placed second.
In the boys 8-9 group, Kelowna's Kael Murphy captured first place in 20:47.
OMSC Apple Open Water
Calgary couple Glenn and Jeanne Carlsen took care of business in the annual Kelowna Apple Open Water Swim Invitational hosted by Okanagan Masters Swim Club (OMSC).
Glenn, 55, finished first in the 5 km swim in Tugboat Bay in 1:09:21.
His spouse, Jeanne, 54—the undisputed queen of the Apple Open Water—was a close second and took the women's title in 1:09:52.
"Jeanne is one of the toughest people to train with and one of the toughest people to race against," Glenn Carlsen said after the race.
The men's 500 m was won by Kelowna's Daniel Frost, 44, in 8:17.59 with Jamie Lee Twamley-Hellar, 13, from Calgary, the first girl across the line in 8:30.36. Two 15-year-old swimmers showed their mastery in the 1.5 km with Alex Diaz from West Kelowna's Liquid Lightning placing first overall in a time of 19:31.72. Laura Kissack of the Duncan Stingrays Swim Team first women across the line in a time of 24:16.39.
Fifty swimmers between the ages of 13 and 68 competed in the event.
For complete results from the Apple Triathlon, visit raceheadquarters.com.