Cyswog race director Larry Bickerton testing the water before last year’s triathlon. Bickerton is the only person who has raced in every Cyswog to date.

Nelson triathlon marks 30th year

Triathletes will hit the water at 8 a.m. Sunday morning in Lakeside Park for the 30th annual Cyswog ‘n’ Fun.

Triathletes from near and far will take over Lakeside Park for the 30th annual Cyswog ‘n’ Fun on Sunday morning.

Over 250 have registered for the race, either individually or on a relay team. About 150 will take part in the shorter, sprint distance course and the rest will do the Olympic distance in the three-sport event.

Race director Larry Bickerton says there’s still space for another 100 participants, but anyone waiting to sign up needs to do it today.

“This is the first year we’re not allowing registration on Saturday,” Bickerton said. “We don’t want local people who are used to registering the day before the race to be disappointed.”

Registration is available in person at Gerick Cycle until 5:30 p.m. and online until midnight on Friday.

The race course is the same as last year’s. The event starts with a swim at Lakeside park — 500 metres for sprint course and 1,500 m for Olympic — then racers hop on their bikes and head up Highway 3A, either 20 km to Six Mile Road and back or 39 km to Kokanee Creek park and back, and finally they get their running shoes on for a either a five or 10 km run.

For the average racer, it will take about 90 minutes to cover the short course and 2:40 to get through the long course.

Bickerton has raced in the Cyswog every year since the event started. The first two years he was part of a relay team, then he raced individually until 2010 when injuries forced him to rejoin a relay team. This year he’ll be doing the swimming leg of the race.

“I’ve been doing it too long to quit,” he laughed. “I can think of a lot of people who have done Cyswog 20 years in a row, but I’m the only one who’s been in it for the full 30 years.”

The race has changed a lot since it started, Bickerton said. There used to be just one course, and because triathlon distances weren’t standardized until the mid-’80s, early organizers just picked the course length based on what seemed challenging enough.

“Before wetsuits came along, we couldn’t be in the water as long. So there’d be maybe an 800 metre swim, then a 40 or 45 km bike to make up for the shorter swim,” Bickerton recalled.

The shorter course was originally just for kids, but now it’s a popular choice for adults trying the sport for the first time or those who want to actually sprint full steam through the course.

“It’s nice we have the options so more people can be involved,” Bickerton said, noting the relay option is also a good choice for first timers.

The race ends with a feast hosted by the Nelson Italian Canadian Society and medal presentations.

Bickerton said the medals will be a little different this year because it’s the 30th anniversary. As well, all the former race directors — about 11 of them  — will be recognized during the medal presentations.

“It takes a lot of dedicated people to put this race on,” Bickerton said. “The race director couldn’t do it without all the committee members and the committee members couldn’t do it without all the volunteers.”

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