Winter tri kicks off Huntsville’s 2019 triathlon season

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By Don McCormick

The 2019 triathlon season was officially kick-started on Sunday, March 3 with the running of the third annual TriMuskoka Indoor Triathlon Winter Classic in Huntsville’s Canada Summit Centre.

Why a winter triathlon in a sport which is traditionally a summer sport? In the words of Race Director Kaitlyn Habermehl, “… to create a safe place for already-existing triathletes to race—to kind of brush the dust off.” And, for those who have never done a triathlon before, “to see what a triathlon is like without being overwhelmed by open water and busy roads—to have a really safe place to come and give it a shot.”

The registration was limited to 108 spots and all 108 spots were filled. The participants were mainly local but there would have been some competitors from out-of-town because, this year, the event was part of the Ontario Indoor Triathlon Series. This is a series of five indoor triathlons that culminates in a provincial championship on May 4, 2019 in Toronto. About one-quarter to one-third of the participants in the Huntsville event were first-timers according to Habermehl.

Becky Rae of Huntsville was one of those first-timers. She was encouraged to do the event by a couple of friends who had done the indoor tri and the try-a-tri in the past. “We worked on getting ready for the event together,” says Rae.

“It was just as hard as I thought it would be,” says Rae, “and just as exciting! The atmosphere made the day—walking into the summit centre and you can hear the music and people cheering everyone on—it was an exciting place to be! The highlight was completing it with friends. I had some friends in other waves, so I went early and cheered them on. The atmosphere was amazing! Also, the volunteers were amazing, everyone was very supportive.”

This event has inspired Rae to do more triathlons. “I have signed up for the [TriMuskokan]  try-a-tri in June,” says Rae.

Race Director Habermehl was very happy with how the event turned out. “It was really great …as good as it can get,” says Habermehl. “Seeing everyone with a smile on their faces, really enjoying themselves and really feeling proud of what they had accomplished is really why we do it.” She expects a number of the first-timers will be registering for the try-a-tri in the upcoming TriMuskokan triathlon on June 23, also at Huntsville’s Canada Summit Centre.

Proceeds from the event will be used to support Enliven, our local centre for well-being in cancer.

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