It was supposed to be Ironman Canada’s glorious return to Penticton.
Instead, athletes who were itching to swim, bike and run in the South Okanagan this year will have to wait another year.
On Friday, organizers for Ironman Canada Penticton announced that this summer’s race has been sidelined because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Based on the mandate from the province of British Columbia in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ironman Canada Penticton triathlon originally scheduled for August 30 cannot take place in 2020,” organizers said in a press release.
“We are working diligently on all potential options and further event updates will be communicated as soon as possible. Athletes that are registered for the race will receive an email with further details.
“In what has been a continually evolving and challenging time globally, we recognize that this may come as a disappointment but look forward to providing athletes with an exceptional race experience in the future.”
From 1983 to 2012, Penticton played host to Ironman, but the city severed ties with the world-famous brand, citing rising costs and falling benefits.
The race, which featured a 3.86-km swim, a 180-km bike ride and a 42-km marathon, drew a field of approximately 2,500 athletes.
After dropping Ironman, Penticton partnered with other multi-sport race organizers, but none had the impact or brand-name recognition that Ironman has.
Though the Ironman race relocated to Whistler, Penticton announced in July 2019 that the triathlon was returning to the South Okanagan after the two sides had agreed to a five-year contract.
Penticton mayor John Vassilaki told Global News at the time that “our people stood hard and stood straight to make sure that we get the best deal we can.”
For more about Ironman Canada Penticton, click here.