Penticton’s Jeff Symonds and Jen Annett earned matching eighth-place finishes in the Long Course World Championships Sunday.
It wasn’t what they were looking for in the International Triathlon Union Multisport World Championship Festival, but they are taking it with a smile.
“I just hung in there, but yeah it was good,” said Symonds, who completed the three-kilometre swim, 120-km bike and 30-km run in five hours 37 minutes eight seconds and had the fifth fastest run at 1:52:15. “To have a top eight in the world coming off all that (season struggles), I’m pretty stoked. This is going to set me up well for down the road.
“It just means a lot because life just kind of sucked when you put everything into a triathlon and you swing for the fences and you kind of strike out,” he continued. “I had to scrap for every little inch. It wasn’t my ultimate best, but it was my best effort. Glad that (announcer) Steve King, my coach Jasper (Blake), my girlfriend Ashley (Wiles) that is out there that kind of gave me the inspiration. That positive energy when I needed it. And my parents too and everyone in Penticton.”
Symonds said he worked it to the finish line and that “it got ugly.”
“I got really ugly,” said Symonds, who relaxed the rest of the day catching the season finale of Game of Thrones, which he said was “going to be sweet.”
Next up for Symonds is an event in Santa Clara, Calif.
Annett finished the race in 6:10:44. She completed the 3-km swim in 45:23, putting her in 14th. She was fifth overall in the 120-km bike, which took her 3:12:28 to complete and had the 10th fastest run in 2:09:40.
“I wished I placed a little better,” said Annett, who grew up in Kelowna. “The run hurt. The run always hurts. It was a tough field. I did the best I could do and that’s all that matters.”
Annett said “that was a crazy women’s field.”
“Probably the toughest I have ever competed in,” she continued. “All I could do is put it all out there and hope for the best.”
Annett said she beat athletes she lost to in the past, adding she isn’t sure if she had a better day or it was them having a bad day or her fitness level improving. In a field featuring world champions, Annett didn’t feel she could have run any harder.
Annett will now get ready for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Sept. 9.