Penticton Ironman: Benzer qualifies for Kona

Rossland’s Susan Benzer qualified for the Subaru Ironman triathlon in Hawaii.

Rossland’s Susan Benzer qualified for the Subaru Ironman triathlon in Hawaii, after finishing second in her category at the Ironman in Penticton on Sunday.

Benzer came in with a time of 11 hours, 18 minutes, and 17 seconds, approximately 18 minutes behind first place winner Colleen Capper in the women’s 50-54 bracket.

Benzer came out of the water in 13th position with a time of 1:10:59, but turned in the fastest bike as she finished the 180-kilometre ride in 5:41:30.

A brisk run in the 42-km marathon, kept her in contention, finishing with the seventh best time of 4:17:09, good enough for second spot and to qualify for the World Ironman championship in Kona, Hawaii.

Dallas Cain finished in 48th overall, and fifth in men’s professional 30-34 division with a time of 9:49:21. Trail’s Mike Konkin came in 236th overall and 41st in men’s 40-44 group, while Tara Fiedler-Graham of Fruitvale was 39th out of 168 triathletes in women’s 40-44.

The race marked the end of the Subaru Ironman Penticton triathlon’s 30 year run as the City of Penticton announced that the Ironman was finished for good on Friday.

The race started from modest roots in 1983 with a field of 23 competitors and grew exponentially to the 3,000 athletes that took part in recent years.

Instead the city made a pact with Challenge Penticton, part of the Challenge Family a distance triathlon organization based in Germany.

Penticton mayor Dan Ashton, said that while he’s always been satisfied with what Ironman Canada delivered, switching to the Challenge Family “is a much better opportunity for the citizens of Penticton.”

Depending on the study it’s estimated that over $10 million was generated into the local economy on the week of Ironman Canada.

Race director Felix Walchshofer said Challenge Penticton will offer a more affordable entry fee to the athlete ($675, tax included) plus a more substantial prize board for the professional athletes with a total purse of $61,500.

He said creative ideas such as a relay where a team of three may enter with a different athlete each doing a leg of the triathlon will be offered with staggered starting times.

The first Penticton Challenge triathlon is scheduled for Aug. 25, 2013.