LifeSport, the company that organizes the Subaru Sooke Triathlon, held an appreciation dinner for volunteers on Sept. 30 at the Sooke Fire Rescue Service firefighters’ lounge.
Along with a barbecue dinner, donations were presented to six different community groups for their work with the triathlon on Aug. 12.
The groups included Sooke Classical Boating Society, Sooke Harbourside Lions, Shirley Firefighters’ Commission, EMCS rugby team, EMCS basketball team and the Holy Trinity Anglican Church. The donations amounted to about $3,000 in total.
“We feel we have a responsibility to put some money back into the community, not only in the form of economic tourism, but [also] from direct funds,” said Paul Regensburg, LifeSport partner.
“We used to sometimes pick a charity or something like that, but this is a direct recognition for the groups that want to be connected and associated to the race.”
He stated volunteers are vital to the operation of the triathlon due to the stretched out distance of the course — about 70 miles in the Sooke to Port Renfrew region.
This year, there was a total of between 250 to 280 volunteers who operated food, water and turn-around stations.
“Getting volunteers is always a scramble, and Sooke stepped up at the last minute and we filled our positions,” Regensburg said.
There have been six Sooke triathlon events since the race’s inception in 1997.
According to Regensburg, participant numbers have grown from about 150 the first year to about 500 this year.