Penticton’s Jenny Ayers, 55, is competing in the International Triathlon Union Multisport World Championship Festivals Long Distance event. She is among 12 Pentictonites competing in that distance. Submitted photo

Triathlons make Penticton age group athlete tick

Jenny Ayers loves the challenge of triathlons, gets ready for ITU Multisport World Championship

Jenny Ayers loves the challenge of triathlons, the fun of it.

“It’s what makes me tick,” said the 55-year-old Penticton resident, following a morning swimming session at Okanagan Lake near the Peach with other local triathletes.

Ayers, who qualified for the Long Distance course of the International Triathlon Union (ITU) Multisport World Championship festival from her performances at the Great White North triathlon and Challenge Penticton, likes training with a group and pushing herself.

“I’m not getting any younger and it’s just a good way to stay fit and keep focused in being active,” said Ayers, who is among 47 female age group athletes competing. “I enjoy the combination of time alone and time with friends. Working hard and resting. For the training. And racing, I just enjoy being out there with other like minded people that are also trying to push themselves as hard as they can go.”

Once race day arrives, Ayers is focused on herself, but she is excited to see athletes wearing kits from other countries. In a year in which the grandmother of five has experienced injuries and had surgery, being able to finish the three kilometre swim, 120-km bike and 30-km run, regardless of placing or time is her end goal. Ayers has a proud feeling for the race being in her hometown and as it gets closer her excitement level will grow.

“I’m hoping that the community will embrace the event and I know that they are still looking for volunteers,” she said. “I think it will be a really rewarding event to be part of.”

Ayers completed Subaru Ironman Canada in 2008, finishing in 10 hours, 58 minutes. In 2016, she hit the finish line for Challenge Penticton’s Long Course distance in 7:54. Ayers and the rest of the age group athletes begin their race Aug. 27 at 6:35 a.m.