Swim, run, bike. Triathlon events have been springing up across the state and country in recent years, but Waconia isn’t a newcomer to the trend. It’s in 23rd year in the community, the Lake Waconia Triathlon will be held this Sunday, June 30 at Lake Waconia Regional Park.
The race begins at 8:30 a.m. with the elite athletes and teams in a wave format. After that, all remaining individual athletes will compete in a time-trial format, organized by age groups. The race consists of a 1/2-mile swim in Lake Waconia, a 20-mile bike, and a 4-mile run. The bike ride will take competitors through downtown Waconia, out through Mayer to Highway 7 and then back down around the east side of the lake to finish at the park. The run will also begin and end at Lake Waconia Regional Park; runners will descend on downtown Waconia with the turnaround at the Carver County Fairgrounds on Burandt Boulevard.
The race will be run rain or shine, with delays if dangerous weather arises. If the water is unsafe for swimming with white caps or cool temperatures, the triathlon will become a run-bike-run duathlon event.
This year’s race has 450 registered competitors, a slightly dip from last year. But there’s a simple reason for it, the growing popularity of triathlon events, according to Race Director Marvin Denzer.
“There’s just so many more races now than there were five years ago,” he said.
For instance, just the day before the Lake Waconia event, there are four other triathlons being held around the state.
The Lake Waconia Triathlon draws a few out of state athletes, but mostly includes participants from our own backyards of Waconia, Victoria, Chaska, Chanhassen, St. Boni, Minnetonka, Mound, Mayer, and the entire Twin Cities area.
“It will be a very good representation of the local area,” Denzer said.
The Lake Waconia Triathlon stands apart from all other triathlons in the area by being the only race in the state that is the Best of the U.S. National Qualifier. From the Lake Waconia Triathlon, the top three male and top three female finishers will advance to the 2014 Best of the U.S. national race next summer.
The well-organized and safe race is also a draw for many, Denzer said.
“The park down there is just wonderful with having the swim, bike, and run transitions all in the same place,” he said. “The venue down there is very nice and pleasing to the spectators as well. People love running and biking through historic downtown Waconia.”
The Lake Waconia Triathlon is sponsored by Ridgeview Medical Center, Minnesota Valley Electric Cooperative, and Gear West Bike & Triathlon, among others.
Denzer has been involved in the Lake Waconia Triathlon for over 20 years and has served as Race Director for the last three. His favorite part? The family-friendliness of the event.
“Race day, seeing finishers come down and seeing family members cheer on their loved ones,” he said. “I don’t care if its a high school stud or grandma running, it’s a truly family-friendly event.”
Thousands of spectators are expected on race day, and hundreds of people behind the scenes are helping out. This year marks the second year of B-Bopp, an obstacle course for kids.
In addition, for the second year, the Lake Waconia Triathlon has partnered with art students at Waconia High School to hold a contest to design the logo. This year’s logo designing winner was Tyler Thomas, who’s art will be on every participant and volunteer’s tshirts.
Volunteers and race coordinators are what make the event what it is, Denzer said.
“I can’t express how much we appreciate the volunteers and key community members,” he said.
Lake Waconia Triathlon founder Tom Konrardy will also be in attendance, running the commentary and announcing the event.
“He’s instrumental on race day,” Denzer said.
The Lake Waconia Triathlon is always welcoming volunteers on race day between 6:00 a.m. and noon helping at intersections, the finish line area, and crowd and traffic control. There is a place for everybody, Denzer said. To get involved, contact Shelly Denzer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com