The 2015 Valley First Challenge Penticton Triathlon will see the professional race move from the traditional Full distance to the Half distance event, to attract more top-level competitors.

The Full Distance triathlon consists of a 3.8km Swim, 180km Bike and 42km Run. Half distance 1.9k/90k/21k.

“There are more long distance races on the professional circuit now, making it increasingly harder to attract top professionals to race here” says Challenge Penticton Co-Race Director, Kevin Cutjar. “We used to see some of the best athletes in the sport go head to head in Penticton. “This has changed over the past five to 10 years and in the last two years, both men and women champions have posted world class performances, winning by 15 to 20 minutes, yet these efforts go largely unnoticed due to lack of competition”.

Challenge Penticton office has received inquiries from several top Canadian, US and other international professionals, looking to compete at the Half Distance race, which falls six weeks before the Hawaii Ironman. “We have the potential to attract a very good professional field at the Half, due to our location and timing,” says Cutjar.

Market research indicates that most age group competitors don’t really consider the professional field, when it comes to their own race choices. Challenge Penticton organizers insist that having a high quality professional field raises the event’s profile and that seeing top pros in Penticton again, will benefit the race, the age-group athletes who are also in town and spectators alike.

Challenge Family events across North America have recently notified professional athletes of prize-money restructuring, following similar moves by Ironman branded races, which have some Half and Full distance events without a professional field. Challenge Penticton will offer the largest prize purse for a Half Distance race in Western Canada, a total of CAD$30,000 will be awarded equally to men and women, for top five placing’s in each category:

1st – $6000, 2nd – $4000, 3rd – $2500, 4th – $1500, 5th – $1000

“We’re absolutely committed to the iconic Full distance event, allocating more resources to offer better value for age-group competitors and enhance the overall race week experience, for everyone involved.” says Cutjar. “We intend to alternate prize-money each year from Half to Full, until overall participation in both events can support a professional prize purse in both events”.

The Full Distance race will be an age group only competition in 2015, with awards to the top three competitors in each of the five-year age groups, which is also the award structure for the Half distance race. Top 3 overall finishers in the Age Group Full distance triathlon will be recognized. In addition to the individual athlete categories, two and three person relay teams are also welcome to compete in both distances.