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Fort Macleod Triathlon adds virtual component

Concerns about air quality due to forest fires in late summer prompted organizers to move the Fort Macleod Triathlon ahead to Saturday, July 13. MACLEOD GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

The 17th annual Fort Macleod Triathlon offers participants distinctive medals. PHOTO BY FRANK MCTIGHE, THE MACLEOD GAZETTE

The Fort Macleod Triathlon will take place about a month earlier than it has the past 16 years.
The popular swim, bike, run event was moved to Saturday, July 13 from its traditional August date to avoid problems caused by late summer forest fires.
“The last two years the air quality has been horrible,” organizer Alan Poytress said. “Our date last year was probably the worst of the whole summer. We’re concerned about our athletes.”
The triathlon, which attracts about 250 athletes, offers competition in four categories at the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
The triathlon is intended to be a fun, family-oriented event that caters to everyone from the beginner to the serious triathlete.
“We have a really laid-back attitude with our race,” Poytress said. “We want people to just come and have the experience.”
“It’s still a tough enough course that if you want to be competitive you can, so it’s a very nice blend.”
The Olympic event consists of 1.5-kilometre swim, 40-kilometre bike ride and 10-kilometre run.
The sprint category has a 500-meter swim, 15-kilometre bike ride and five-kilometre run.
The super sprint class consists of a 200-meter swim, 10-kilometre bike ride and a two-kilometre run.
The youth (under 12 years of age) event has a 100-meter swim, two-kilometre bike ride and a one-kilometre run.
There is also a relay category, with teams of two or three people taking on individual components.
Organizers reached out to past participants and attend the Vulcan Tinman and Lethbridge Kids of Steel triathlons to promote the date change.
“We’ve been pretty active,” Poytress said.
Organizers are hopeful the July 13 date will be a good fit with other events in southern Alberta.
They researched possible new dates to avoid conflicting with other weekend sports events.
Athletes don’t even have to set foot in Fort Macleod to participate, thanks to a new virtual option.
People can register on-line to participate from another location.
Poytress said the virtual option is to provide people with flexibility in a summer that is jam-packed with sporting events.
To register visit www.ftmacleodtri.com.

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