It was a fairy tale ending for Carrie Lester, who finished in eighth position overall and topped the women’s field with a time of 9:27:26. Within 12 seconds, Karen Thibodeau (CDN), Jennifer Luebke (USA) and Lester emerged from the swim, but the pack broke apart during the bike. Cycling being her second nature, Lester powered out in front to finish the 180 km in 5:07:53 and stayed strong on the run to remain well ahead of the pack. Thibodeau kept her momentum going through the bike, completing 5:29:12 and 12th overall.
Hometown favourite Jen Annett (CAN) was also behind the first 10 female swimmers, coming out of the water at 1:09:22. A fast transition and solid pace on the bike of 5:21:06 helped her climb up into third position heading into the marathon. She kept the pace for a 9:58:23 third-place title for the women and 14th place overall. Luebke scored fifth place with 10:13:34, only 23 seconds ahead of Erin Furness (NZL).
“This day has just been incredible. We could not have asked for a better race to welcome the Challenge Family to North America,” said Paulette Rennie, President of Challenge Penticton Canada. “Thank you so much to all our volunteers. As always, you have been outstanding and amazing ambassadors for Penticton and the South Okanagan.” Thousands lined the shores of Okanagan Lake and Penticton streets today to witness history unfold, and online traffic volumes looking for race updates soared over the 1 million visitor mark – bogging down the site with excessive demands for information.
The course itself is technically challenging due to its geography and climate, and is known the world over for its single loop through mountainous B.C. geography. The swim took place in the pristine Okanagan Lake, which recorded temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius at the swim start. The bike course features two steep climbs at Richter Pass and Yellow Lake with elevation ascents over 210 metres high. The run includes an out-and-back along the gorgeous Skaha Lake to the south, and the pro field crossed the finish line under 27 degree Celsius heat.
Pro female final results
|Lester, Carrie (AUS)||9:27:26||1||8|
|Thibodeau, Karen (CAN)||9:41:42||2||12|
|Annett, Jen (CAN)||9:58:23||3||14|
|Luebke, Jennifer (USA)||10:13:34||4||18|
|Furness, Erin (NZL)||10:13:57||5||19|
|Deim, Trish (USA)||10:30:33||6||21|
|Lentzke, Jennifer (CAN)||12:17:31||7||130|