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Fort Macleod Triathlon returns in July

The 18th Fort Macleod Triathlon takes place Saturday, July 9 following two years of COVID-19 pandemic postponement.

Organizers are hopeful the event picks up where it left off, when about 300 athletes took part.

“We’ve had a lot of interest through social media, but there’s a difference between interest and registration,” founder and organizer Alan Poytress said. “We’ve got some early registration, there are people who are interested.”

The triathlon combines swimming, cycling and running over various distances.

The Fort Macleod Triathlon emphasizes fun and participation.

“We have some really good athletes coming, but they know the drill,” Poytress said. “It’s not competitive. Compete against yourself — do your best and enjoy the day.”

Poytress said triathlon remains a popular sport for athletes of all abilities.

“Obviously the COVID years created some logistical problems,” Poytress said, referring to travel restrictions and rules limiting the size of gatherings. “It’s still a very popular sport internationally.”

Expectations for a large turn-out are tempered somewhat by the experience of other events in southern Alberta, which have registered lower than usual participation.

“There’s been nothing that is overwhelmed for participation,” Poytress said of the other events.

This is the first time the triathlon will be held using Fort Macleod’s new outdoor pool facility.

“I think it’s a shining point for us,” Poytress said of the new facility. “It will be just what we needed.”

The olympic category includes a 1.5-kilometre swim, followed by a 40 km bike ride and a 10 km run.

The sprint category has a 500-meter swim, 15 km bike ride and five kilometre run.

The super sprint category has a 200-meter swim, 10 km bike ride and two kilometre run.

The youth category offers a 100-m swim, two kilometre bike ride and one kilometre run.

Competitors are to check in at the curling club an hour prior to their race to pick up a race packet, sign a waiver, timing chip and for body marking.

Organizers will start a push for volunteers this week, with about 100 spots to fill, with people working in shifts under the direction of a core group.

“We’ve gotten good at what we do, and so we don’t have to hold our volunteers quite as long,” Poytress said. “Our volunteers are so good at what they do.”

People are needed to help with set-up, take-down and various race day duties.

“We have people who do a lot of races and they really love our volunteers,” Poytress said. “They feel really comfortable here. We try to keep people safe, but on the other hand we’re not oppressive about safety.”

For more information or to volunteer contact Alan Poytress at dr_alan@live.ca. Event information and registration is at fortmacleodtri.com.