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Tuesday, 08 August 2017 07:00

Participants ready to swim, bike and run their way through Fort Macleod this August

Written by  Demi Knight
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The 15th annual Triathlon is back in Fort Macleod this summer. The event which combines sprinting, cycling and swimming for people of all ages to participate in is here once again with a competition that draws people from across the province.

The Triathlon is unique in its nature of encouraging participation rather than competition. Alan Poytress, organizer of the event, says this race is important in its nature for helping people achieve their own personal goals.
“We don’t want people to come and think they’re under pressure and competing with everyone else,” he says. “We want people to know that the only person they’re competing with in this event is themselves and their own goals.”
The triathlon, which sees people from all ages and walks of life come together to be a part of the event, is known for its place within the community as an opportunity for people to get active, enjoy training while personally bettering themselves and their own lives.
Poytress says that although it used to be positioned as a competition in the past, it has evolved over the years into something more.
“In the first couple of years we had a prize for first, second and third within the age groups, and we found that it caused a lot of added pressure and we didn’t want that.”
However, as the years went by and the event grew, the ideals of the triathlon were adjusted.
“Now, everybody gets a race shirt and a medal. The medals are actually made by the same company that produces iron man medals and we have great stories about first timers and families returning,” adds Poytress.
Although the triathlon has become an event for people to realize their own accomplishments, the race still offers a range of varying options for people of all ages and fitness levels to attend.
The first and most challenging is the Olympic triathlon which allows competitors to complete a 1.5-km swim followed by a 40-km bike ride and ending with a 10-km run.
However, for those still training or wanting to try something a little less challenging there are other options, including the sprint race which is a 500m swim, a 15-km bike ride and a 5-km run or the Super Sprint race which allows participants to compete in a 200m swim, a 10-km bike ride and end with a 2-km run.
With the staggered race options available, people from all backgrounds come out to participate and try their hand at these races. However, this isn’t an event solely for adults. A youth race is also offered on the day so families can come out together and each get the experience of the course.
“The event has almost become a nice little family race, so we see a lot of reunions happening each year. I think last year for overall participants around one-third of them were under 12. The youth section has become more and more popular. It used to be that the parents would compete and bring their kids along and now their kids want to do it as well,” says Poytress.
With this being the triathlon’s 15th year, Poytress reflects on how the event has grown since its starting days. With the first few years seeing only 25 or 30 people coming out, to now reaching around 300 participants, the triathlon is a well enjoyed event within southern Alberta.
“It’s a physical and mental challenge, it gives people the opportunity to compete at their own level,” says Poytress of the triathlon.
He adds the impact he’s seen this event have on people’s lives who’ve attended is inspiring on many different levels.
“Because you can compete on your own level it gives someone like me a chance to go out there with the professionals and compete, but we’ve also had great stories about first timers who have lost 100 pounds with their training and participation in this triathlon and its an impressive sight to see how their lives have improved.”
The Triathlon will return to Fort Macleod this year on Aug. 19. Registration is still open to all categories, with a $55 entrance fee for adults and $30 for youths.
More information on how to register and race details can be found online at: http://www.ftmacleod

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