The weather threatened but held off and in the end conditions were just about perfect for the Bulkley Valley Pool Triathlon.
Close to 140 participants took part in the event. There were the usual adult and teenage athletes who seemed to be testing their abilities, but the largest contingent was children. Organizers were overwhelmed with a strong pre-registration and had to cut off additional entries.
In a community as active as Smithers, it turned into a family affair as parents and children all took their turns at testing their limits. Race sections were adjusted to encourage younger participants and the result was that the young first timers had little difficulty in completing the course.
Perhaps the most challenging section was the swim. For some children who may not be advanced in their aquatic abilities, the idea of racing in the pool may have been daunting but they were allowed to use flotation aids and had to swim only short distances such as one or two lengths.
Racers were given explicit instructions about the course and how to complete it prior to the start and there were numerous volunteers along the course to help guide the racers. While a few errors tried to make their way onto the course, these were quickly and efficiently dealt with.
Of course there were a few boo-boos, friends and family helped out quickly and made the event go smoothly. In one case one young racer came out to her bicycle only to discover that she had forgotten her sneakers. No problem; her older sister, who had finished her race already, took off her shoes and handed them over.
Facility staff handled many of the most essential tasks while volunteers of all stripes helped out with the many tasks which allow an event like this to run smoothly.
Facility manager Tamara Gillis was satisfied with the event, especially with the registration.
One element which encouraged more individuals to take part was the team competition in which each phase of the race is performed by a different person. In the case where an individual may not be confident in their ability to perform one of the sections, often swimming, they can form a team and therefore be part of the event. This year there were 20 teams entered in the various categories of the event.
Organizers felt that the event was a success and would encourage many newcomers to try additional races in the future.