Jeff Symonds of Penticton is congratulated after winning the Kal RATS Sprint Triathlon Sunday at Kin Beach. His time was 58 minutes and 56 seconds, the second fastest in race history. (Tobias Fredericksen/Morning Star)

Penticton pro takes triathlon

Kal RATS sprint attracts field of 163

Jeff Symonds of Penticton ruled the Vernon Kal RATS (Running Athletic Triathlon Society) Sprint Triathlon Sunday at Kin Beach.

Symonds covered the 750-metre swim, 18.5-k bike and five-kilometre run in 58 minutes and 56 seconds, the second-fastest finish in race history.

Symonds, 32, won the 2015 Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne, and the 2013 and 2014 Challenge Penticton triathlons. He was in the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Las Vegas.

He was more than seven minutes ahead of runner-up Owen Harris, a Kelowna product competing the male 19+ category.

Former Vernon resident Vanessa Tilson, now a nurse in Kelowna, was third overall and the women’s winner, in 1:06.40. She topped the female 25-29 division.

Kelowna’s Patrick Long, in 1:07.05, and Jesse Van Oene, in 1:08.12, rounded out the top-five in a field of 163. The race was an Okanagan Rail Trail fundraiser.

Joel Deleenher, formerly of Vernon and now of Lake Country, placed sixth in 2:09.31, while Jonathan Arkle of West Kelowna was seventh in 1:09.52.

Vernon’s Craig Goplen was eighth overall and first in the male 55-59 group, in 1:11.38, while Adrianne Erdman of Penticton finished ninth in 1:14.02. Todd Benson of Vernon rounded out the top-10 in 1:14.51 while taking second in male 45-49.

Vernon’s Peter Byrnes competed in the triathlon with teammate Ian McKechnie.

Byrnes, a 51-year-old Armstrong Highland Elementary School Grade 5 teacher has been riding all month in the Great Cycle Challenge to fight kids’ cancer.

His story about riding 1,000 kilometres in June was published in The Morning Star last week.

“I raised another $500 after the article in The Morning Star,” said Byrnes. “We were fifth in the team event so we were really happy. I was sixth out of the water and ninth on the bike and Ian ran like the wind – he was second fastest – to pull us up.”

Byrnes will hit the 1,000 mark by Friday and hopes to hit the $2,000 level in funds raised.

People can donate money at https://greatcyclechallenge.ca/Riders/PeterByrnes

RELATED: Vernon’s Byrnes cycling for cancer

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