The first annual Abbotsford Sprint Triathlon raised between $6

The first annual Abbotsford Sprint Triathlon raised between $6

Inaugural Habitat for Humanity triathlon exceeds expectations

Jonathan Gendron and Marketa Roubalova were the men's and women's champions, respectively.

When the Upper Fraser Valley branch of Habitat for Humanity decided to launch the Abbotsford Sprint Triathlon, organizers set modest goals for the first edition of the race.

“We said, ‘If we don’t have 35 racers we’re not going to do it, if we have 50 we’ll be happy, and wouldn’t it be amazing if we have 100?’” recounted Doug Rempel, executive director of the local Habitat branch.

“But it was above and beyond our expectation.”

Indeed, with 125 participants, Sunday’s inaugural fundraising triathlon at Albert Dyck Park zoomed past the most optimistic projections, and Rempel said the event will return next year.

“It was challenging, because it was our first event,” he said. “But in terms of the feedback from the participants and volunteers, everyone thought it was amazing.”

Victoria native Jonathan Gendron (pictured right) was the top male finisher, clocking a time of 1:04:47 to edge Mikey Ross of Mission (1:10:19). Marketa Roubalova of the Czech Republic was the top female, finishing in 1:17:46.

Final fundraising numbers aren’t in yet, but Rempel estimated the event netted between $6,000 and $7,000 for Habitat for Humanity’s latest local project, a home currently under construction at the southeast corner of Farmer Road and Sumas Way.

Habitat is seeking donations of cash or building materials to boost the construction effort. To donate, call 604-557-1020 or visit habitatufv.ca.