Great Hay River Triathlon returns

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo Many of the lifeguards at the swimming pool – pictured on Aug. 12 during NWT Lifeguard Appreciation Day – will participate in The Great Hay River Triathlon on Sept. 10. The lifeguards are, left to right, aquatics supervisor Ashley Coombs, Kaylee Melvin, Jesse Vogt, Tyson Maher, Danna Webster, Allen Gostick, Robin Schell, Mason Hache and Jaymar Marzan. NWT Lifeguard Appreciation Day was declared by the NWT Recreation and Parks Association.

Paul Bickford/NNSL photo
Many of the lifeguards at the swimming pool – pictured on Aug. 12 during NWT Lifeguard Appreciation Day – will participate in The Great Hay River Triathlon on Sept. 10. The lifeguards are, left to right, aquatics supervisor Ashley Coombs, Kaylee Melvin, Jesse Vogt, Tyson Maher, Danna Webster, Allen Gostick, Robin Schell, Mason Hache and Jaymar Marzan. NWT Lifeguard Appreciation Day was declared by the NWT Recreation and Parks Association.

If anyone is looking for a sports challenge, the Town of Hay River has just the thing for you.

Once again this year, the town is presenting The Great Hay River Triathlon on Sept. 10.

“It’s a great way to promote more physical fitness and healthy active living,” said Ashley Coombs, the town’s aquatics supervisor, who is organizing the event.

The triathlon will involve swimming, biking and running.

People can either tackle the triathlon individually or as part of a team.

“I think marathons and these types of triathlon events are becoming a little bit more popular,” Coombs said. “I think it’s great for setting personal goals.”

Participants have two options for the triathlon. There’s the Olympic triathlon, which consists of 1.5 kilometres swimming (60 lengths of the pool), 40 kilometres bicycling and 10 kilometres running. Then there’s the sprint triathlon, which consists of 0.75 kilometres swimming (30 lengths of the pool), 20 kilometres biking and five kilometres running.

Shelley Maher has done the sprint triathlon twice.

“It’s a good challenge to keep you doing some exercises in the summer,” she said.

Maher is also hoping to do the triathlon this year.

“I was going to try the Olympic this time,” she said, saying it would be more of a challenge. “Because I’ve done the other one twice so I thought I’d try the longer one.”

Maher said the triathlon is fun, and she encourages people to try it.

“Just do it,” she said. “It doesn’t matter about your time. Just do it to try it. Just do it.”

Coombs also encourages people to become involved, either individually or as a member of a team.

“It’s something that’s healthy. It’s good for you,” she said. “It’s exercise. It’s for fun. It gets you involved with the community. And it’s supporting a community event.”

Coombs said from what she has been hearing there’s definitely some good interest in the triathlon this year.

In fact, she said people are already calling about the event.

“There are teams already out there that are ready to go and register,” she said. “Some people have already stepped forward and are interested in doing it individually on their own.”

Coombs added people have even been calling from out of town.

She also hopes to get some more youth involved.

“I’d love to see that. We’ve had some youth in the past,” she said, noting young people had a great time in the event.

There are three age categories for the triathlon – youth (seven to 18 years of age), adult (19 to 54 years of age) and senior (55 years of age and older).

As of late last week, Coombs did not have an estimate of how many people may compete in this year’s triathlon.

She plans to personally participate in the triathlon as part of a team.

“I will do the swim component,” she said.

Coombs also noted that the lifeguards at the swimming pool will also be available to join teams which might be looking for swimmers.

“I’m going to make sure that all of them are doing a swim component for somebody,” she said, adding that may help to get some more teams involved.

Coombs said the triathlon began in about 2008, and has been held most years since, except for a few missing years such as last summer because of the strike by unionized municipal workers.

There is a map in the lobby of the pool where potential participants can review the route of the triathlon.

And information on registering and on the fee for the event can be obtained from the recreation department of the Town of Hay River.

Coombs said she is also looking for volunteers to help run the triathlon.

–Paul Bickford