Wildfires cause cancellation of Ironman triathlon in Penticton, B.C.



One of British Columbia’s larger sporting events has been cancelled, and wildfires are to blame.

On Saturday, organizers of Ironman Canada in Penticton, B.C., said that next weekend’s triathlon won’t go ahead this year due to safety concerns.

The event, slated to run Sunday, Aug. 27, attracts hundreds of athletes from around the world.

Last year’s race — which featured a swim distance of 3.8 kilometres, a bike portion of 180 km, and a 42-km run — had 1,568 participants, but previous years exceeded 2,500.

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: Many provincial fires pose risk or threat to public safety'

B.C. wildfires: Many provincial fires pose risk or threat to public safety

Organizers said their decision was made on the province-wide state of emergency plus an order restricting travel to B.C.’s Southern Interior for non-essential purposes.

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“For an event that has been a long-time athlete favourite on the Ironman circuit, we were excited to once again showcase this beautiful region and provide you with a race experience that you deserve,” said organizers.

“However, due to the mandates in place, and to allow the local resources the space they need to focus on the local community, this was the necessary decision.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. wildfires: Thousands ordered to evacuate Okanagan'

B.C. wildfires: Thousands ordered to evacuate Okanagan

Registered athletes will receive an email with more information regarding the cancellation.

“While it will be disappointing to the athletes who have trained so hard, I know they will understand the decision to cancel this year’s Ironman event is the right one to make,” said Penticton’s mayor, Julius Bloomfield.

“The need to support those who have been so severely impacted by the ongoing wildfire situation needs to take precedence.

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“The unpredictability of the fires means the province needs to have maximum flexibility to ensure the proper supports are available to those who need them.”

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