Dozens of locals and out-of-towners will hit the water at the annual Whitefish Lake Triathlon on the morning of July 29, kicking off a scenic 25-plus kilometer race at and around City Beach.
Organizer Stan Watkins, who put on the first Whitefish triathlon nearly 25 years ago, said the mid-summer race is approachable for competitors of all skill levels. The triathlon consists of a half-mile swim in the lake, a 20-kilometer bike ride through town and a 5K run that ends back at City Beach.
“People see triathlon and most people think of an Ironman,” Watkins said, referencing the well-known Ironman races that are at least five times longer than the Whitefish Lake event.
“Most people can jump right in (to the Whitefish Lake Triathlon) and finish the race.”
And for every racer, the chance to be branded a winner awaits beyond the finish line. Ribbons are handed out to the top finishers in a handful of classifications but more than $1,000 in prizes are also given away by chance after every competitor has wrapped up their day. It’s all part of what Watkins hopes is an atmosphere of inclusivity at his race, one that doesn’t appeal exclusively to the most dedicated, well-trained athlete.
“We give the prizes in a raffle because if I’m in last place I might have worked just as hard (as the winner),” he said.
Triathlon prizes are provided by Sportsman & Ski Haus, and include running shoes, multi-lens glasses, backpacks and more. Watkins estimated participants have about a one-in-five chance of walking away with a post-race raffle prize.
Competitors can enter the race individually or in teams at a cost of $63 per person or $180 per team, a price that includes a pizza lunch after the race. Prices will increase after July 21, although registrations are accepted on the day of the event. To pre-register, visit www.trisignup.com.
For questions about the race or tips about training for a triathlon, call Watkins at (406) 253-4103.