03/24/2015 09:04 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT

B.C.'s Jeff Symonds wins Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship

B.C. triathlete Jeff Symonds is heading to the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii this fall after winning the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday.

Symonds, who is from Penticton, crossed the finish line at eight hours, four minutes and 29 seconds. He beat out Australian athletes Tim Van Berkel and Brad Kahlefeldt.

Symonds says the win still seems "a bit unreal," but he's thrilled to have won as a Canadian who had been, for the last 10 kilometres of the race, running stride-for-stride with an Australian competitor.

"Everybody wanted the Australian to win," he told Radio West.

"It was even at the point where I was kind of thinking, you know what? It'd probably be better for everybody if he did win — except me. But I got to keep going for this."

Symonds finished about three and a half minutes in front of the second-place finisher. He will now head to the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii this October.

"We all get into this to kind of see where we stack up," he said. "Kona is the best opportunity for that."

To hear the full interview with Jeff Symonds, click on the audio labelled: Penticton triathlete wins Melbourne Ironman