Photos: Tamara De La Vega, Liz Rice, and Dawn Huddlestone
We’re still standing. After the Dopplergangers challenged town staff in the TriMuskokan Corporate Relay Challenge on Sunday, June 26, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. Then we weren’t quite sure what we were thinking. And, now that it’s over, we’re glad we didn’t overthink it too much.
As we predicted, we weren’t the fastest corporate relay team on the course – that honour went to Adastra Team 2 followed closely by Team Adastra. (I’m sensing a theme here.) But, surprise, surprise, the third place corporate team was none other than the Town of Huntsville Staff Team. (Which we think is a boring name compared to what we christened them – the Town Tri-Hards – but we’ve begrudgingly revoked that moniker since they beat us.) And it really was a surprise. The team members, Crystal Best Sararas (swim), Paul Calleja (bike) and Matt Huddlestone (run), were packing up and just about to leave when their bronze medal was announced.
As for the Dopplergangers? We were the best… at being last. But we had a great time out there and, as promised, crossed the finish line smiling. I even managed to snap a few photos on the run course (which didn’t help our run time any) much to the dismay of uber-athlete and local swim coach Jane Wolfe who said, “Aren’t you supposed to be racing?”
Ours wasn’t the only friendly competition on the course. There was one between TriMuskoka and the Barrie Baydogs triathlon club, too, who had 46 and 54 athletes in the race respectively. “(The Baydogs) made a field trip up here as they did last year. We’re very happy that they picked this race to go to early in the season,” said TriMuskokan co-organizer Brian Gray. “We won last year but they beat us pretty decisively this year.”
In all, 257 people – a 75 per cent increase over the previous year – competed in the try-a-tri and short-course triathlon, duathlon, and swim bike events. There were 17 relay teams, six corporate relay teams, four family relay teams, and 56 Try-a-Triers. All of the racers were supported by more than 70 friendly volunteers who ensured the racers knew where to go, provided encouragement along the way, ensured everyone stayed safe, and were waiting with high-fives at the finish line.
Our volunteers are absolutely fantastic. They are out there because they want to help the community. They had great spirit and we had lots of comments from athletes, especially out-of-town athletes who commented on how friendly and helpful the volunteers were. It’s a real positive comment about Huntsville that we have the kind of volunteers that we do in this community.
Brian Gray, TriMuskokan co-organizer
It wasn’t the only thing that volunteers were singled out for. In today’s General Committee meeting (June 29), Councillor Nancy Alcock commended organizers and volunteers for their efforts in diverting recyclables and organic waste away from garbage cans, producing minimal garbage in the process.
“We encouraged people to bring their own plates and we had recycling set up so we could put very little into landfill,” said Gray.
Of the event as a whole, Gray, who is event co-ordinator with Rich Trenholm and Lindsay Bishop, said, “I think we had a very successful event. The weather was good, the community spirit was superb. It’s a community-oriented race by triathletes for triathletes and we had a 75 per cent increase in registration this year.
“We hope to continue to have it grow and have lots of people out enjoying a healthy lifestyle in a community friendly event. In this race we have lots of first timers challenging themselves to do something that they didn’t know they could do and we had lots of success stories. We want to keep developing that for next year and keep building that tradition.”
Hopefully, we become Ontario’s best kept secret for triathlon, but secrets get out, and that is when great things happen. We have received many emails from people who have described the event as ‘life changing’ and ‘the best day of their life’ as it helped them believe in themselves, step out of their comfort zones, and start down the path to the pursuit of an active and healthy lifestyle.
TriMuskoka president Rich Trenholm (via email)
Congratulations to all of the competitors, race organizers and volunteers, and especially the Town of Huntsville team for their unexpected bronze medal. See you out there next year.
Scroll down to enjoy a selection of photos from the day. And you’ll find full race results at the links below.
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