THE RACE IS ON! Below: Mark McBride

Rotary keeps triathlon running

Get ready for the 33rd Rotary Cyswog’n’ Fun Nelson Triathlon on August 2.

Pull up that wetsuit, grease up that chain and lace up those trusty running shoes. There’s still time to get some training in for the 33rd annual Rotary Cyswog’n’ Fun Nelson Triathlon on Aug. 2.

This year’s event will see new faces at the lead as the Nelson Rotary Club is taking over after former race director Larry Bickerton stepped down last fall.

The third-oldest triathlon in Canada keeps tri, tri, trying again. Rotary’s Robert Crawford is the new race director with Bill Harbord as co-director.

Rotarian Mark McBride, who is in charge of registration, said the club decided to get involved for a number of reasons.

Several Rotarians were familiar with the race as athletes and through previous work volunteering.

McBride said the triathlon fits well as Rotarians are looking to build more activities in the community and keep existing ones. The race starts and ends in Rotary Lakeside Park to boot.

Mark McBride, of Natural Choice Pharmacy hands a cheque to Petra Lehmann, Nelson triathlon committee member, as a new major sponsor for this year’s race. Sam Van Schie photo

When Rotary realized the race might fold, the club decided to get involved and McBride said the existing committee was eager to form a partnership. The ten-person committee had five or six core people shouldering the work, meaning fatigue was setting in.

“Rotary brings the manpower of 70 members plus organizing abilities which will help take the load off the five to six people at the core,” McBride said

The committee has stayed on so it’s a strong team for a challenging sport.

With Olympic and Sprint distances to choose from, the course is scenic and aid stations peppered along the route are great during the typically hot weather.

Wetsuits are advised for the swim in Kootenay Lake from Lakeside Park beach. The water is, well, refreshing with an average temperature of 14 to 18 degrees Celsius.

Cyclists then mount up and cross the orange bridge heading for Kokanee Creek Park along the North Shore and return. Runners cross the orange bridge once again to beat the path down Johnstone Rd.

At the finish line you can rest in the shade of Lakeside Park, dip in the lake for a refresh, feast on a well-earned lunch and ease tired muscles with a massage. Christine Sutherland will again be at this year’s race with her group of massage volunteers.

Awards are given out for the fastest times in various categories, along with door prizes and a draw for the much-coveted new bike from Gerick Cycle and Ski each year. McBride said a lot of credit goes to the corporate sponsors who help make the triathlon a success.

For some athletes it’s competitive, while for others it’s a social event and many are happy simply to finish the course. Whether you break out on your own solo or wrangle your friends into a team, there are two distances to choose from (see below).

Are you hiking, mountain biking and trail running but have yet to try the multi-faceted sport?

McBride said the sprint course is a good way to get into triathlon for first timers and he points out that the event is supposed to be fun.

A portion of the proceeds will go to Rotary projects such as high school scholarships.

More volunteers are welcome as each year 60 people make the race possible for the 250 to 300 participants. If you have family or friends coming to watch you compete, consider asking them if they’d like to help out.

It’s not to late to register for this Tri BC sanctioned event. Besides the satisfaction of participating, entrants get a t-shirt, swim cap, post-race luncheon and massage. For more info, visit or drop into Gerick’s for a paper registration form before the July 31 deadline.

How far can you go?

Cyswog offers two courses for prospective participants:

Olympic distance: 1.5 km swim, 39 km bike, 10 km run

Sprint: 500 m swim, 22 km bike, 5 km run

Kids 12 to 17 can complete too with these guidelines:

12-13: One sprint course event (swim or bike or run)

14-15: One or two sprint course events or one Olympic course event

16-17: Any or all sprint course events or one Olympic course event

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