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'Time to say goodbye': Ironman race leaving Penticton, moving to Ottawa

The August triathlon was first held in Peach City in 1983
Jessica Cullen of Canada is the overall women’s winner during the IRONMAN Canada on August 28, 2022 in Penticton. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

Ironman Canada is ready to say goodbye to Penticton.

The South Okanagan city will host the iconic triathlon one last time in August, as event organizers gear up to move the race to Ottawa in 2025.

“It has been an incredible run and we are so grateful for the amazing community of athletes and volunteers who have played such an important role in this piece of Ironman's history," reads an announcement from event organizers on July 9.

Penticton was the first city to host the competition in Canada, doing so in 1983. The event would become a local summertime tradition, as it came to the city every year until 2012.

Mayor Julius Bloomfield called Tuesday's announcement "disappointing" but said he looks forward to welcoming the thousands of athletes and visitors to the Peach City one last time this August.

“What makes our community a destination for major events is not only our unique geography but the people who rally to provide an unmatched atmosphere," Bloomfield said. "The Penticton spirit has made this event and many others memorable over the years.

“We know Ironman has retrenched and cancelled other events globally over the past several years, so the decision is a reflection on the challenges they face and not on Penticton’s ability to stage successful events."

After it stopped coming to the city in 2012, Penticton and Ironman Canada reached a five-year agreement in 2019.

It wouldn't proceed, however, until 2022, due to the ongoing pandemic.

Raging wildfires again forced the race's cancellation in 2023.

Ironman Canada will now hold its final edition of the summertime triathlon in Penticton on Aug. 25, 2024, before it moves to Ontario.

“All athletes know, there’s a time to say goodbye and find new challenges," Bloomfield said, adding that the city is now looking ahead to its hosting of the World Advenuture Race in 2025 and BC Summer Games in 2028.

"We will honour the legacy of the athletes and volunteers who have made this an iconic event since the inaugural event in 1983 and begin writing a new chapter in our city’s proud sporting history.”

About the Author: Logan Lockhart

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