It was a close race as the first and second place finishers in the Ultra 520K Canada triathlon crossed the finish line just 13 seconds apart during the final leg of the three-day endurance event on Monday.
Jon Bell, a 40-year-old Canadian athlete reached the finish line in the 84.4-kilometre running portion of the event with a time of 7:49.01, while Barry Berg, a 52-year-old Canadian athlete had a time of 7:49:14.
The running portion began in Princeton and ended in Summerland.
“This is the hardest and toughest race of my life. I’m exhausted,” Bell said at the finish line.
The race covered 520 kilometres of swimming, cycling and running over three days. The triathlon began with a 10-kilometre swim in Skaha Lake to Sovereign Road near Okanagan Falls, followed by 149.8 kilometres of cycling. The second day had a 274.2-kilometre bike ride. The third day was an 84.4-kilometre run from Princeton to Summerland.
“I’m overwhelmed with joy,” Bell said at the finish line. “The satisfaction is incredible.”
He said the race is something he had wanted to do for the past year and a half.
The hardest portion of the three-day triathlon was the run, he said. There were no breaks in the course and the climb near Summerland was gruelling, he said.
Bell and Berg ran the first 26 kilometres of the course together. Then Bell took the lead, but Berg caught up around the 70-kilometre mark.
The two were also close in their three-day totals.
Bell’s total time was 23:41:41, while Berg had a total time of 2:44:43.
While the two were the top overall finishers in this yer’s event, they were not the first to cross the finish line in Summerland’s Memorial Park.
Leo Lopez Manon, 46, from Spain, was the first runner to finish, with a time of 7:30:39.
However, his total time of 26:04:47 over the three days put him in fourth place.
Kevin Esser, a 38-year-old American athlete, had a time of 7:46:54 in the run, but his total time was 23:56:19, giving him the third place finish.
A total of 24 athletes from around the world were registered in the invitational event.
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