Tyler Johnston, (middle) the winner of the 18th Woody’s Triathlon, along with Trevor Clippard (right) who finished second and Brian Dand (left) who finished third in the adult sprint race. (File Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)

Woody’s Triathlon adds new distance to 2019 event

Kids race Saturday with regular sprint triathlon set for Sunday

Organizers of the Woody’s Triathlon have decided to add something new for its 19th birthday.

The annual triathlon, which is set for Sunday starting from the Michener Centre, will feature a try-a-tri for the first time. The new distance is a 300-metre swim, 6.7km bike and 2.5km run. That’s much shorter than the regular sprint triathlon that is a staple of the event.

“It is half the distance of our sprint race, it really is what the name implies. It is for those people that are a little scared off by the sprint distance,” race director Shaun Richer said.

“We’ve introduced this new distance to give people an opportunity to try it out. It’s a little shorter and hopefully more manageable for people.”

Even if the weather looks suspect for the weekend, with thunderstorms likely for both Saturday and Sunday, Richer doesn’t expect that to deter racers.

They typically attract close to 200 competitors for the main races on Sunday. Even still, a big attraction is the Kids of Steel Race on Saturday, which is one of the biggest of its kind in Alberta.

Locally, Richer said they have kids train for nine weeks to get ready for the race Saturday and for him, it’s one of the highlights of the weekend.

“They’re anywhere from 5-15 years old and nothing makes me smile bigger when you see a little five-year-old who’s out there on their bike, still with their training wheels on,” Richer said.

“(Then) they’re running across the finish line with a smile on their face, it’s pretty cute to see those little guys… these kids are the future of our sport. I’m proud to be able to offer this race.”

Depending on their age, kids swim anywhere from 50-500m, bike 1.5-10km and run 500m to 4km.

The main race, which is also set to turn 20 next year was selected in 2018 as one of the top five beginner races in the province. Richer added that’s a nice feather in the cap, as they really try to provide a full-on family experience at the race.

“We just don’t want people to come in and race and leave again. Whether you’re competing or a kid on one day and adult on the next, we really want you to hang around. That’s why we have put more work into it,” he said.

With race day coming up fast, organizers are still also looking for volunteers both Saturday and Sunday. Anyone interested is encouraged to email woodysvolunteer@gmail.com. For more information on the race, the course and registration info, check out www.woodystriathlon.com/.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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