Valley First Challenge Penticton today crowned two new champions in the first Professional race held over the Half Distance. Victoria BC’s Brent McMahon and Peoria, Illinois’s Jennifer Spieldenner won hotly contested races in both mens and women’s events. The Half Distance event is held over 1.9 km swim, 90 km bike and 21 km run.

The 33rd edition of the Full Distance triathlon was held today, as an Age-Group only event. David Matheson of Penticton and Yvonne Timewell of Kamloops, BC, who are all both previous Ultraman Canada overall champions, took line honours in the Challenge Full, today.

Italian-born, U.S. resident Davide Giardini lead the men’s field out of the water in 22:04, closely followed by Chris Braden and Brent McMahon. McMahon took the lead on the bike leg, clocking 2:14:08 for the 90 km course. He was followed into transition by local athlete Trevor Wurtele with Giardini slipping to into third. Each athlete held onto his place on the run, McMahon finishing the 21 km leg in 1:14:28 for a total time of 3:50:38.

“I wanted to go out and I wanted to win this event,” said McMahon. “It takes a lot of hard work to do that. There were great Canadians and great international athletes here. They didn’t make it easy on me.”

Speildenner lead the women’s field out of the water in 23:28 with a commanding lead over Ellie Salthouse and Malindi Elmore who exited the lake together. Heather Lendway then registered the fastest bike split of the day at 2:32:18. The top five women then changed the order time and again during an exciting run leg, although once Spieldenner assumed the lead she extended it as she closed in on the finish. She stopped the clock at 4:25:09, with two-time winner Australian Carrier Lester in second and Colorado’s Lesley Smith in third.

“It felt amazing to win this race!” said Speildenner. “I really had to dig deep with the challenging course, elements, and competition. Valley First Challenge Penticton is so special because it’s a tough course that pushes you; the support from spectators and volunteers is amazing.”

“The Valley First Challenge Penticton professional race had everything a spectator would want,” said Michael Brown, co-race director, Valley First Challenge Penticton. “There were fast times, lead changes, and a dash of drama. Jennifer and Brent executed fantastic races today and are well deserving winners.”

“What a race!” said Zibi Szlufcik, CEO, Challenge Family, who flew from the organization’s head office in Germany to support the event. “Everyone at Challenge Family congratulates Brent and Jennifer on their wins today, following thrilling pro races each featuring a top-quality field.”

A total of 1,100 athletes toed the event’s start line. Athletes from across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific participated in the Challenge Half alongside the professional field, some in the longer Challenge Full, and others in relay events over both distances.