Competitors interested in a fun event, considerably less grueling than some of the longer endurance races in the valley, should check out the fifth annual Foy’s to Herron Paddlethon. The July 31 race entails a 2.6-mile paddle around Foy’s Lake, a 5.7-mile mountain bike ride in Herron Park and a 3.7-mile run nearby.
Steve Muller began organizing the Paddlethon in 2007, and it has since evolved into an event drawing roughly 50 racers, in both teams and as solo competitors. But above all, Muller has managed to keep the atmosphere fun and inclusive.
“My goal is to keep it a pretty low-key affair,” he said. “But we’re growing it a little bit each year.”
It’s also a fundraiser for Foy’s to Blacktail Trails. Last year, the Paddlethon raised $700 for the nonprofit to maintain and improve the Herron Park trail network. This year’s race course will take advantage of the new trails there, particularly by incorporating a long, singletrack biking descent along the Notch Trail.
“The mountain biking leg is a little bit longer, but probably has a little bit gentler grades,” Muller said.
The paddling leg of the race also attracts competitors who may not be interested in swimming.
“Regular triathlons are a dime a dozen,” Muller said. “This one’s fairly unique in that it’s a kayak and not swimming.”
Paddlers can use whatever boat they choose, from a kayak to a canoe, as long as they wear a flotation device.
“We actually had a guy do it on a stand up paddle board last year,” Muller said. “He was pretty psyched.”
Muller encourages families to enter in teams, with one or two members paddling, a third biking and another running, breaking the distances up into manageable sections.
“We actually had some pretty competitive family teams these last couple of years,” Muller said. “They just have a blast.”
The bike course will be marked by early afternoon the Saturday before the race. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday, with the event scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. The Foy’s to Herron Paddlethon is sponsored by Hammer Nutrition, Rocky Mountain Outfitter, Wheaton’s and Colter Coffee. For more information call Muller at 406-261-9250 or email him at email@example.com.
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