Flathead Valley’s only triathlon set for July 29

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It’s time to start wrapping up training for the Flathead Valley’s only dedicated triathlon.

This year’s Whitefish Lake Triathlon will be held on Sunday, July 29. Competitors will meet at City Beach at 9 a.m.

The sprint distance race, the shortest distance for triathlons, is open to whoever is up for the challenge, said Stan Watkins of the Kalispell Athletic Club.

“It’s not like a totally exhausting, collapsing-at-the-finish-line kind of thing,” Watkins said. “It’s pretty doable for most people.”

Watkins also said having the only triathlon makes the event more special.

“I think the sport’s taking a little bit of a beating right now, and I think that’s due to Spartan Races,” he said. “There used to be four, and we’re the last man standing.”

The triathlon consists of a half mile swim, a 20- kilometer bike ride and a 5-kilometer run. After crossing the finish line, participants will be treated to pizza and beer after receiving trophies, medals and more than $1,000 in prizes. The cost to register is $63 for individuals and $180 for teams.

Contestants will start with the point-to-point swim, going from the right side of City Beach out to a buoy and back. The biking portion begins behind the beach parking lot and follows Wisconsin Avenue to Hellroaring Creek and back. Finally, runners will race through city streets to The Lodge at Whitefish Lake and back.

Participants can race as individuals or as part of a team, with separate award categories for each. Age divisions include 18 and under, 19 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, and 60 years and older. Teams are divided into men, women and mixed. The top three finishers in each division will receive medals. Ribbons will be awarded to winners in the team categories.

A “Lil Guy” race for ages up to 6 and 6 through 14 years old will immediately follow the adult race and is free to enter.

For those looking to up their training in the week’s coming up to the race, Watkins is also offering three-week training schedules.

Watkins said he can help contestants tailor their training to fix up their weak spots before the race.

“A lot of people don’t know where to start with training, so I can give them a good idea with a three-week program,” he said. “Usually they need to spend the most time on the thing they like the least. For example, people tend to ignore swimming if they hate it, so they should spend three days a week swimming.”

There will be a pre-race meeting at 6 p.m. on Saturday at City Beach. The race starts at 9 a.m. Sunday at City Beach.

The event is sponsored by Don K Whitefish, Sportsman & Ski Haus, Hammer Nutrition and Competitive Timing.

Watkins said the race is still looking for more volunteers to help out.

To register, visit https://www.trisignup.com/Race/MT/Whitefish/WhitefishLakeTriathlon.

Those interested can call Watkins for more information or to get a training plan at 253-4103.

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