GH Triathlon, Duathlon return

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:46 PM

The USA Triathlon sanctioned event features Olympic and sprint distance triathlons and a sprint duathlon.

The weekend is more than just the races — it’s a festival of fitness and fun. A large triathlon expo takes place at Mulligan’s Hollow on Saturday, with vendors and display booths for all to enjoy.

Following the race on Sunday, food is available for both athletes and spectators. Live music and an awards ceremony will also follow the races.

The Olympic distance triathlon begins with a 1.5K swim, followed by a 40K bike and a 10K run. The sprint distance triathlon features a 500-meter swim, a 20K bike and a 5K run.

The duathlon is geared for those who would prefer to avoid the water portion of the race. The sprint duathlon features a 5K run, a 20K bike, and a second 5K run.

Relay teams can compete in any of the three races.

The swim portion of the event takes place in Lake Michigan, with swimmers beginning south of town and heading north to the exit point near the south pier at the Grand Haven State Park.

Triathletes then have a long jog up to the transition area at the YMCA, where they shed their wetsuits and don their helmets as they head out on the bike course, which heads out south of town on Lakeshore Drive.

The run course takes athletes along the boardwalk.

The pre-race expo takes place from 2-6 p.m. on Saturday. Athletes can pick up their race packets, get body marked, view course maps and get instructions from the race director.

Late registration will also be available at the expo.

Volunteers are always needed. Tasks include kayakers along the swim course, people to serve as course directors and offer minor vehicle control on the run and bike course, body markers and help with packet pickup.

Volunteers will receive a “Support Staff” shirt and are invited to the post-race picnic.

For information, send an e-mail to volunteers@grandhaventri.com.

As in previous years, the Grand Haven Triathlon serves as a memorial event for Grand Haven resident Tony Thompson, who passed away in 2004 due to an undetected heart condition.

“As a result of his unending encouragement, focused healthy lifestyle, faith and commitment, we wish to hold this race in tribute to Tony Thompson,” said event director Ron Knoll.

Last year, Grand Haven’s Aaron Venema won the Olympic triathlon with a time of 2 hours, 7 minutes, 51 seconds. A total of 103 athletes competed in that race.

Joel Anderson was the sprint triathlon winner in 1:07.46. That race drew 197 participants.

Rick Hammer won the sprint duathlon in 1:09.49, besting a field of 47 athletes. David Burkhart won the Olympic triathlon in 1:57.58. That was the smallest race of the day, drawing just 17 participants.

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