For the second year in a row, Jaclyn Dexter was the first female athlete across the finish line for the standard distance in the Peach Classic Triathlon, despite some difficulties in the final stretch.
“I didn’t think I would win it because the run, my legs were locking up. I thought drank too much Gatorade,” said Dexter. “They were seizing, so every water station I was like, ‘water water water’.”
The Nelson native was first out of the bike leg and finished 38 seconds ahead of the second female to earn a repeat gold. For Dexter, the layout of the course played a part in her success.
“I had never won a triathlon, except for last year. The only one I did before was the Cyswog’n’Fun in Nelson,” Dexter said. “This course run is not bad. The Cyswog’n’Fun is super hilly and full sun. This is nice, you do have to start uphill, so that’s hard on the legs, but once you get on the trail it’s pretty sweet.”
The men’s division had a larger gap, with three minutes passing between Robert Johnson’s first-place finish and Thomas Watson’s second. A previous winner in the sprint distance, Johnson made it out of the water with a slight two-second advantage and fought the course to extend his lead.
“Going up that hill, Vancouver Hill, both on the bike and the run is tough. Really the first bit of the run, especially coming off getting your legs going is really tough, but I felt all around today.”
Johnson had previously run the Peach Classic in 2010, 2011, and 2013, but had taken a break from the event until this year.
“Penticton is one of the iconic events in our sport. The Peach Classic’s been going for 36 years, to be able to come out and win it is a big honour,” said Johnson. “I hope to come back again next year.”
The sprint distance divisions had even larger gaps between finishes. Carsten Lapointe ended with a four-minute lead on his competitors, while Alesha Miller finished seven minutes ahead of sister Christa. Alesha held the fastest times for the women in each leg for a combined final time of 1:16:42.
About 340 athletes took part in this year’s Peach Classic, the 36th annual, including 26 men and 23 women taking part in the Aqua/bike class, which this year is a qualifying race for the world championship, held in Spain in 2019.
Participants in that class do at 1.5 km swim and a 40 km bike. Owen Bain topped that class with a time of 1:30:05, Carmelle Guidi-Swan was the first female to cross the line, with a time of 1:42:34.