Pioneers up for the challenge

Gary Billmark, representing Cranbrook, competes in the Penticton Challenge with some friends at his side.

Pictured from left to right: Steve King

Pictured from left to right: Steve King

A team of athletes, including a Cranbrookian, recently returned from competing in the Penticton Challenge Canada Triathlon, which replaced the Ironman Canada, as it relocated to Whistler. Gary Bilmark, Sister Madonna Buder, and Dyane Lynch competed as a team, with each individually taking on a different portion of the event on Aug. 25th. Calling themselves Team Pioneer, the three were personally invited by Challenge Family CEO Felix Walchshofer, who hails from Roth, Germany.

Tackling the 112-mile bike portion was Sister Madonna Buder, who at the young age of 83, has more than 45 Ironman races under her belt.

Dianne Lynch, who holds the distinction of being the first and only woman to compete and complete the Penticton Ironman in 1983, ran the 26.2 mile marathon at the tender age of 70.

Gary Billmark, at a youthful 71 years of age, represented Cranbrook and completed the 2.4 mile swim.

All told, the team finished the race with a time of 16:41:40, which was just under the allotted time of 17 hours.

They finished last in the team portion of the event, but ahead of 22 individual participants.