MLA’S Report: Apple Triathlon a training ground for Olympians

Olympic gold medal winning triathlete Simon Whitfield's first Olympic distance triathlon was the Apple in Kelowna.

You’ve heard the expression “more than the sum of its parts.” When it comes to the Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon, that’s literally true.

You’re familiar with the triathlon itself—over 1,600 athletes begin with a swim course starting and ending on Tug Boat Beach, a bike course starting and ending on Water Street, and the finale, a run course across the Harmony Bridge to the finish.

It’s a demanding event, requiring high levels of athletic fitness, and proficiency in three very different sports.

How demanding is the Apple? Consider what this former competitor had to say: “The Apple Triathlon was my first Olympic distance race back in 1992. It remains, to this day, one of my favourites: held in a wonderful city, with great people, incredible scenery and with the generous support of the city, the people of Kelowna and the incredible volunteers.

“The national team along with triathletes from all across Canada can’t wait to get to Kelowna, enjoy the sunshine, spend some money and go home to rave about your wonderful home in the Okanagan.”

This competitor was Simon Whitfield. You may have heard of him: Olympic gold and silver medallist, and flag bearer for Team Canada at the 2012 London Games .

Whitfield also won the Apple Triathlon in 2010.

This gives you an idea of the literally world class level of competition The Apple has attracted at the national and international level.

It was awarded National Championships for Elite and Age Group participants for 2004, 2005, and 2008 to 2011.

It has been recognized as an International Triathlon Union event since 2005.

As impressive as that is, the Apple is about so much more than the race itself.

The triathlon isn’t just a highlight for the competitors, but for Kelowna. Sports fans are always eager to see top-flight competition, but for those of us who aren’t quite up to competing with Olympians, the Apple has safe and fun races for all ages and experience levels.

That’s why the provincial government supported the Apple Triathlon with Community Gaming Grants the past two years —it’s a great community event.

And “the sum of its parts” includes all the events—both official and unofficial—that take place around Kelowna to help celebrate the Apple, from fun runs and kid camps to BBQs with out-of-town guests who come here to soak up the atmosphere.

How can you support this world-class event? Simple: Consider volunteering. The Apple needs all the help it can get—they need some 1,200 eager volunteers to help make the Apple a success again in 2012. You’ll be doing the community a great service by supporting a major tourist draw, and you’ll probably have a great time along the way.

If that wasn’t incentive enough, organizers have planned a volunteer appreciation party, with the chance to win two tickets on Air Canada anywhere in Continental North America where Air Canada flies, a gift certificate from Big White Ski Resort, Covert Farms wine, and “beer for a year” from Tree Brewing.

Kelowna Capital News