Triathlon, half-marathon set

Daniel DaRosa runs for a team during the Great Hay River Triathlon in September.

A new sports event is being planned for June in Hay River.

It’s an as-yet-unnamed triathlon and half marathon.

“There was a lot of talk about having a spring event and I actually had some calls from people out of town wondering if Hay River was doing a half-marathon or triathlon in the spring,” said Ashley Coombs, the aquatics supervisor with the Town of Hay River and the main organizer of an annual triathlon in the fall. “It was one of those things where it kind of perked my interest, my attention to the idea of adding a half-marathon.”

Coombs noted marathons and triathlons are becoming more popular.

The June event will be different from the Great Hay River Triathlon held in the fall.

The new triathlon will feature two divisions.

Like in the fall, one will be a sprint division, consisting of .75 km swimming (30 lengths of the pool), 20 km biking and five km running.

The difference will be what’s called a ‘try-tri’, which is a race with half the distances of a sprint triathlon.

“Try a triathlon is what it stands for,” said Coombs.

She explained that it would be a good event to start for someone who has never before tried a triathlon.

“We’re coming out of winter and it’s spring, so here’s something to start with a small goal if people have never tried and feel intimidated that the sprint might be a bit too long at first,” she said.

Coombs added the event will help keep people moving and active, and setting goals, in the spring.

The half-marathon will also be new to Hay River.

“So if anybody wants to just run, it’s a 21K run,” said Coombs, explaining that is the distance of a half-marathon. “We already would have checkpoints out along the route anyways. So they would basically do the 10K run twice.”

About 10 organizers and participants from September’s Great Hay River Triathlon met on April 4 to gather feedback from last year’s event and talk about the new triathlon and half-marathon.

“I think it’s definitely something that’s going to continue to grow,” said Coombs, adding it is hoped that more people will become involved in helping to organize the events.

Another meeting will be held next month.

Coombs said the decision to hold a new event in June was influenced by the success of the Great Hay River Triathlon in September.

“It’s the interest of people wanting to get out,” she said.

On Sept. 10 – a rainy and windy day – 39 people still showed up to compete as individuals or as part of teams in the triathlon.

It was believed to have been the biggest turnout ever.

The September triathlon includes a sprint division and an Olympic division.

An Olympic triathlon involves 1.5 km swimming (60 lengths of the pool), 40 km bicycling and 10 km running.

The Great Hay River Triathlon began in 2008 and has been held most years since.

Coombs noted that the new event in June will also be held just weeks after the annual NWT Track and Field Championships.

“We think that perhaps athletes will still be coming down from that event itself and from their training,” she said, adding it is hoped some of them will continue on into the triathlon or half-marathon.