The ties that bind Amanda
Kosmerly and her family to Sudbury continue to run
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.
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
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
"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
"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
- both Jack and Amanda completed the Ironman a week
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
"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.