The 2017 Canadian National Pentathlon Championships were held in Calgary, Alberta July 7-9. Pentathlon Alberta hosted over 50 athletes from across the country as well as from the United States, with Martin Gajardo and 2012 and ‘16 Olympian Donna Vakalis taking home the men’s and women’s Canadian Pentathlon titles.
Rocky Mountain Show Jumping (RMSJ) provided a picturesque backdrop for both the riding and the laser-run events. Due to the heat predicted for the weekend, all of the riding event was moved to the Friday night. A variety of horses were provided for the athletes who expertly found the connection they needed to navigate the 11 jump course. While the equestrian event was taking place, athletes and spectators were also treated to a BBQ courtesy of Pentathlon Alberta.
On Saturday morning pentathletes, spectators, and event staff settled into the recreation facility of Mount Royal University (MRU) for the fencing. Eight pistes were set up in the gym of the facility and provided a well organized start to the day.
As athletes finished with the fencing they made their way over to the swimming pool next door to prepare for the next event. Aided by fast times and great management, the swimming event finished early and gave everyone some extra well earned rest time.
After a picnic lunch from Freshii outside of MRU, everyone headed back to RMSJ for the final event. The laser-run took place in a brand new grass field at the south end of RMSJ. The area offered the perfect landscape to hold the running event with a level grass surface and well organized route. Athletes, spectators, volunteers and officials all had to take care special care to manage the heat and keep themselves cool. As athletes finished up their last event they were provided a special treat from Fiasco Gelato who were onsite during the laser/run event giving out free gelato to all of the athletes.
During the banquet that evening the Denise Fekete Award, given to the top male and female athletes, was presented to Martin Gajardo and Donna Vakalis respectively. Additionally, the John Norton Memorial Award for exceptional sportsmanship and consideration for others, voted for by the athletes, was presented to Loreto Gajardo.
Finally, parents, siblings, officials and volunteers all turned out on Sunday for a chance to team up with athletes from the previous day and try out fencing, swimming and laser/run at MRU. The relay concluded with tired smiling faces on all participants.
This successful event could not have been possible without the time, expertise, drive and organization of all of the staff, officials, volunteers and athletes. Pentathlon Alberta would like to thank everyone who was at the event and helped make it the success that it was. Pentathlon Alberta would also like to thank our partners and sponsors: Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, Mount Royal University, Freshii, Fiasco Gelato and Greenhawk. Thank you as well to Alberta Sport Connection and the Government of Alberta for your grant to help support our local and national atheltes. Results can be found HERE.