East County Sports

Madden qualifies for Ironman Worlds

San Diego's Kurt Madden (centre) celebrates his Ironman Canada victory to qualify for the 2023 Ironman World Championships ./ courtesy photo



By Nick Pellegrino
ECS staff writer

PENTICTON, British Columbia, Canada — In the Okanagan language of the area’s First Nation people — you don’t dare say “American Indians” in Canada — the name of this tiny village (it’s hard to even call it a town) is derived for the year-round beauty of Okanagan Lake.
The translation: “a place to stay forever.”

Following a 5-hour drive north of Vancouver, you might consider yourself lost in the Rocky Mountains in the center of Colorado or farther north toward Yellowstone National Park.

Yet, this is also the locale for an athlete who did stay here and made history, as Penticton native Jeff Symonds captured Sunday’s (Aug. 28) open division of Subaru Ironman Canada.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s Kurt Madden captured his second straight race in the Male 65-69 flight, gaining an automatic berth to the 2023 Ironman World Championship when its returns to Kona, Hawai’i, early next year.

Like Madden, Symonds has raced all over the world, but this was his first IM victory in seven years.
“Oh, it’s amazing right, to have Ironman back (in Penticton, B.C.) and just the energy in town was awesome,” said Symonds after crossing the finish line first with a time of 8:38:03.

Symonds’ last victory was the 2015 Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia. But the Canadian always does well in his home country, earning a pair of second-place medals at IM Canada when held in Whistler, B.C., in 2014 and 2018.

This was the first race in the center of the province since 2020. But it was well worth it for Madden, who overcame a short turn-around to claim his second straight IM competition in a month after also taking the Boulder 70.3 in Colorado.

The triumph cemented his world ranking at No. 1 in his age category heading into Kona.

Madden, running for Tri-Dot, finished in 12:02:17, nearly an hour ahead of his nearest competitor.

“We did it!,” exclaimed Madden. “We had an awesome day at IM Canada, and I am super excited to have qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona in 2023.”

Madden finished ahead of six domestic runners, while world No. 4 Dermot Heffernan of Italy finished eighth, yet was more than two hours behind.

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