Challenge Penticton champ returning to defend title
He came, he crashed, he conquered; and last year's Valley First Challenge Penticton champion Jeff Symonds is back to race again.
Symonds (Canada) took a nasty spill on his bike in the inaugural Challenge Penticton race in 2013. He made a miraculous comeback in the iron-distance event crossing the finish line bloodied, bruised and battered to win the top male title. His race was defined by some as one of the top triathlon performances in 2013.
"It was pretty unreal. I think the reason we all do triathlon is to see how tough we are, especially when we have those moments of adversity that we have to pull ourselves out of and see how we respond," said Symonds who set a course record finish time of 8:29:57. "It was pretty cool to have that moment at Challenge, in my hometown, and get up and keep going. Having the fortitude to keep pushing to the finish line is what makes triathlon special. Everyone in that race does it. They all have their own moments when they have to dig deep to get to the finish. That is what is great about Challenge because the whole field has that in common, professional athlete or not."
The pull of racing in his hometown overcame Symonds and he decided on the last day of registration to enter, despite only having a few weeks rest since his last triathlon. He will join over 1,200 participants registered from 17 countries on Aug. 24 to race Valley First Challenge Penticton.
"It's something special for me to race in my hometown, in front of people I grew up with, who helped me along the way and will be cheering me on," said Symonds. "I know I am not coming into this race as fresh as I would like to be, but the big thing is having fun and supporting this race."
He won’t be the only one with a hometown cheering squad on the course. His brother, Mike Symonds, will be racing the half, as is the pro triathletes' girlfriend.
About Valley First Challenge Penticton Canada
Valley First Challenge Penticton Canada is busy preparing for its second race this summer on Sunday August 24, 2014, and offers a full distance, half distance, full relay and now the inaugural half distance relay. No longer the lone Challenge race in North America, Penticton is part of five Challenge races being in held in 2014 with more to be announced for 2015. North America races include Challenge New Albany, Ohio, Challenge St Andrews, New Brunswick, Challenge Atlantic City, New Jersey, Challenge Ranchero Cordova, California. The Challenge Family is the fastest growing global long distance triathlon series, now with 26 long distance triathlons in 18 countries and is changing the face of long distance racing around the world. We are triathlon!