UPDATED: Super League organizers cancel remaining races

Smoke still remains too thick for athletes in inaugural North American triathlon

Update, Aug. 19, 8 a.m.

With the Air Quality Health Index still over 10, organizers of the Super League Triathlon in Penticton have decided to call off the rest of the races.

Update: 1:30 p.m.

Organizers have decided to call off this afternoon’s races at the Super League triathlon, after the heavy smoke filling the valley refused to lift even a little.

Spokesman Darren Hailes said they aren’t sure what will happen with the races tomorrow, but they are hoping for the best and making contingency plans should the smoke persist, discussing options to modify the races.

—-

Update: 12:45 p.m.

After making the decision to suspend the professional class races at the Super League Triathlon, organizers are doing minute-to-minute monitoring to see if conditions improve enough to hold the races.

Downtown Penticton streets are quiet after yellow, smoky skies forced organizers to suspend afternoon Super League races. Brennan Phillips/Western News

If the Air Quality Health Index drops to nine or below, according to spokesperson Darren Hailes, the race will be on.

“We will start a race within 60 minutes of that air quality dropping to nine or below,” said Hailes. “To make sure that our athletes aren’t exposed to higher levels of AQHI, we will shorten the race and it will be a 36-minute race.”

This is the inaugural event for Super League in North America. Haillie said the goal now is to get some of the athletes qualified for the Super League Championship series, which starts in September in Europe.

“We want to get them racing against each other and want to be able to hand out these spots,” said Hailes. “We are going to be doing everything we can to safely get them racing each other and competing for these positions that they have flown in from all around the world for.”

Hailes said they were able to run the age group amateur races Saturday morning, and there is still a lot of excitement.

“The feedback we got from that race was that this was the most exciting format that people had ever raced in,” he said, “They’ve really enjoyed the experience.”

The pros, he added, are more used to dealing with surprises.

“This isn’t the first time that they’ve had to wait around for weather conditions, or road closures, unforeseen circumstances before their races,” said Hailes.

—-

The thick haze of smoke filling the skies over Penticton has caused organizers of the Super League Triathlon to suspend the races.

“The air quality has been the discussion of the weekend,” said co-founder Michael D’Hulst, noting that they already were taking precautions with this morning’s age group races.

Related: Okanagan air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Related: Apple Triathalon cancelled in Kelowna due to smoke

“We shortened the event, but it was a great success,” said D’Hulst. Co-founder Chris McCormack said 90 per cent of the competitors finished within the hour.

“But now we have the pro event, which we have suspended,” said McCormack. That includes both the men’s and women’s pro events.

“The wind is picking up, so we are monitoring the situation closely. We will have an update for you around noon, and we hopefully can have a form of racing this afternoon,” said D’Hulst.


Steve Kidd
Senior reporter, Penticton Western News
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