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The city of Kelowna and the Kosmerly Klan

The ties that bind Amanda Kosmerly and her family to Sudbury continue to run deep.

Both her parents, as well as those of her husband, Jack, remain firmly rooted in the nickel city.

Social media interactions and friendships will find a solid core of Sudbury's most active athletes sharing pictures and thoughts regularly with the Kosmerly clan.

And when the time came for Amanda to join the likes of Michel Barbeau, Hussein Wiebe, Derek D'Angelo and Battista Muredda competing in Ontario Cycling Association sanctioned races on the Zwift on-line platform earlier this summer, it was the Sudbury Cycling Club colours that would accompany Kosmerly into action.

All of that said, don't expect her to make her way back home, on a permanent basis, any time soon.

"Kelowna (B.C.) is like a playground for me," she said, reached just a week or so prior to her inaugural foray into the world of ironman racing, completing the grueling marathon in Penticton earlier this month, Jack in lock-step with her throughout the entire race.

"I just open the door here and grab whatever: my bike, my running shoes, my bathing suit," Kosmerly added. "Once we got out here, I realized that it's the lifestyle that I really like."

The year was 2015 and the reasons were many that Amanda, Jack and Shaylin (their daughter) would leave Ontario for the west coast, leaving both of their sons (Hayden and Tayte) behind. While academic commitments would cause the lads to lag slightly behind the brood, they would eventually make their way out.

"We needed a change," said Kosmerly, a two-time OCAA cross-country champion at Cambrian College, her titles separated by 11 years after deciding to return to school to study nursing in her late twenties. She now works in the coronary unit of the Kelowna General Hospital. For as much as she left family behind in Sudbury, there was also a western re-connection to be gained.

"Hayley (her twin sister) had been out here since the nineties, and we had been visiting every couple of years," said Kosmerly. "I think we knew that we wanted to come out here, but it's still hard. The kids were little and still had all of their friends, and then I went back to school."

As time passed, the opportunity to make the trek to beautiful British Columbia would grow. And for as much as both Amanda and Jack have absolutely embraced all that one of the most scenic areas of the country has to offer, the truth is that the passion to remain active runs throughout the entire family.

Now 25 years old, Hayden leveraged his volleyball experience at both Lockerby Composite and Cambrian College, quickly working his way up the ranks of the beach community in British Columbia. "In the last year, he moved to Vancouver and trains now at Kits Beach," noted his mother. "He's still training and hoping to compete in the more elite division next year."

Though just a year younger and also armed with plenty of seasoning on the court in his youth, Tayte has ventured off in a completely different direction, all while tapping into his love of all things vertical. "He is one of the best rock climbers around; he climbs everything," said Amanda. "Tayte doesn't do the free-styling that some do, but he does top-roping and lead climbing."

"It's quite amazing what he's done in a short amount of time."

Shaylin (19) combines elements of both of her siblings, enjoying some of the country's top hiking alternatives, along with some beach volleyball and downhill skiing, on the side. Small wonder the athletic diversity of this group - the apple simply does not fall far from the tree.

"I think initially the goal was that we would come out here and I would train a little bit harder for the triathlons, the sprint distance triathlons," suggested Amanda. But it was the far lengthier Ironman, an event which Jack had completed, on a couple of occasions, some while back, that consumed a good chunk of their training in 2019-2020.

"Jack and I signed up last summer and did a lot of our training together this winter, but then it got cancelled," said Kosmerly. While this recent Penticton challenge was not an official race, per se, the Sudbury natives were hardly the only hardy souls out on the course. "Quite a few people are just going out with their own support people," Amanda stated.

"Everyone is starting at their own times, whatever they want - it should be quite interesting."

"Our plan is that we are going to do the swim together and the bike together," she added. "And hopefully, he (Jack) will be able to do the run with me. We don't really have any support (staff) for the bike or swim, but one of our friends is going to bike beside us when we do the run, to carry some of our nutritional needs."

Mission accomplished - both Jack and Amanda completed the Ironman a week ago Sunday.

The truth is, the Kosmerly family has no plans to slow down any time soon.

"One of the nicer things out here is that there really isn't much of a shoulder season," said Amanda. "Some days, I can cycle here and then take my skis up to Sovereign (Sovereign Lake Nordic Club). I do make Sara McIlraith a little jealous, at times. I'm afraid that if she comes to visit, she might not go back."

Far more than the vast majority of Canadian cities, Kelowna has incorporated physical activity as a must for all citizens. True, the region certainly benefits from some geographic and meteorological advantages, but the mindset is also built directly into the vision of their urban planners.

"It's such a life changer out here," said Kosmerly. "When I go to work and I'm on my bike, I'm not the only one on my bike - it's like a highway of kids. I never worry about what route I am going to take because pretty much every route has bike lanes."

And when the snow flies, the tradition of full family involvement continues.

"The thing that is really neat for me out here is the cross-country skiing," said Kosmerly. "It starts so early and finishes so late. Each different area has some really different features. There is one place that is really special because you can ski the trails with your dogs. To be able to take the dogs off the leash on a cross-country ski trail is pretty neat."

And just one more reason why Kosmerly suggested that Kelowna will remain home, well into retirement.

Hard to blame her.

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