Seeing hundreds of young, aspiring triathletes cross the finish line after a grueling race will never get old for Susie Ernsting.
“It’s my favourite part. They get to cross the finish line before the adults do tomorrow,” Ironman Canada’s race director said. “It’s a great way for us to kick off the weekend, get everyone excited and give the families something to do together.”
Ahead of Ironman Canada’s anticipated return Sunday morning in Penticton, kids were given the opportunity to take centre stage on Lakeshore Drive, Aug. 27, and be among those to partake in the country’s premium triathlon event weekend.
Whether it was a 500-metre, one-kilometre, or two-kilometre run, “Ironkids” competitors had the choice to race in any one of three distance categories.
But it wasn’t just the kids who took advantage of the Ironman pre-event.
A tourist from France and avid triathlete wasn’t going to miss any of the festivities in the Peach City this weekend, especially when it meant racing with her granddaughter in the Ironkids event Saturday morning.
The grandmother-daughter duo was successful in completing the race and crossing the finish line.
It’s those stories that make Ironman Canada an unforgettable event for Ernsting.
“This is such a family affair,” the North Vancouver resident said. “It’s just nice to see this and be back in Penticton, it was the first place I myself ever competed in 2010.”
Ironman Canada kicks off at 7 a.m. Sunday morning when thousand of competitors take to the water to Okanagan Lake. The race features a 3.8-kilometre swim in Okanagan Lake, a 180-kilometre bike ride through Osoyoos and Keremeos, as well as a 42.2-kilometre run along Lakeshore Drive in downtown Penticton.
“Be here for the start and be here at midnight for the finish line party,” Ernsting said.
“If you’ve never seen the finish line of an Ironman, with the whole community cheering on athletes coming back…it’s something special. That’s when they become an Ironman.”