The Subaru Sooke Triathlon may grow with the addition of the Long Distance Triathlon National Championships.

National championship awarded to Sooke for 2013

The Subaru Sooke Triathlon may see an increase in participants with addition of the Long Distance Triathlon National Championship

Sooke has won the bid to host the Long Distance Triathlon National Championship through the Subaru Sooke Triathlon for 2013.

During the Sooke Economic Development Commission meeting on May 16, LifeSport — organizer of the Subaru Sooke Triathlon — announced the bid was accepted by Triathlon Canada.

There is an option to host the event consecutively for three years, which would cost an estimated additional $50,000 per year due to factors like sanctioning fees, signage and equipment.

“At this time we are not looking for any funding from Sooke,” said Paul Regensburg, LifeSport partner. “We’re hoping not to have to put any financial burden on any of our partners if we can help it.”

He said the process is still in the preliminary stages, and LifeSport is currently looking into whether or not the event will be eligible for grants, funding from different levels of government and sponsorships to account for the additional cost.

“We are just in that exploratory phase to go out and see what might be available to the event.

“Really the only thing that we’re seeking is support in principle from the District of Sooke,” he said, adding support has already been received from municipal, provincial and federal levels of government.

The bid, which was submitted in December 2011 with approval from council, is also open to other Subaru Western Triathlon Series events organized by LifeSport, namely the Saunders Subaru Victoria Triathlon and Subaru Vancouver Triathlon.

Regensburg stated it would be easier to receive funding for the event in the larger metropolitan cities, but Sooke is the company’s preferred location.

“We pushed heavily for Sooke, our bid was based around Sooke,” he said. “We think it’s truly a location that can grow over time.”

According to numbers extrapolated from eight studies of similar events, the Subaru Sooke Triathlon brings in approximately $1.76 million a year. The projected economic spin off from hosting the national championships is an additional $530,000, bringing the total economic benefit to $2.3 million.

Currently, the Sooke Subaru Triathlon has 500 to 600 entrants, and it is projected the national championship will bring in an additional 100 to 200 athletes each year the event takes place. By the end of three years, it is estimated about 1,000 people will come to Sooke for the large event.

Regensburg said the end goal of building the Subaru Sooke Triathlon is to one day go international, and have Sooke host a world championship or world Ironman event.

The Subaru Sooke Triathlon currently has three events:

The Sprint (500-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run).

The Olympic (1,500-metre swim, 40-kilometre bike and 10-kilometre run).

The Long Distance, informally known as the half Ironman, (1,900-metre swim, 90-kilometre bike and 21-kilometre run).

If the event takes place in Sooke, the Long Distance race would act as the Long Distance Triathlon National Championship, which would be open to everyone.

For the past three years, the Long Distance Triathlon National Championship has been held in Magog, Quebec.