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The swimming portion of the triathlon begins with a splash in Lake Belle Taine Saturday morning.

Northwoods Triathlon’s popularity continues

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By Nick Longworth

“Swim, bike and run,” was all one participant would say when asked why he decided to attend the 12th annual Northwoods Triathlon, beginning on the public beach in Nevis on Saturday, Aug. 9 at 8 a.m.

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The event was popular again with registration filling up on the day it opened. It was also heavily attended by spectators, with a couple of hundred people present by the time the first wave of swimmers began at 8.

It all began as a simple hobby.

“It started when my friend lived across the lake. We used to race against each other: swim, bike and run. We said someday we would start a triathlon and many years later we started one,” said Race Director Paul Schroeder. He and his wife Amy started the triathlon 12 years ago.

“This is a small town, but as you can see a ton of athletes,” Schroeder said.

The race itself consists of a ¼ mile swim on a course around Lake Belle Taine, a 14.2 mile bike ride, and a 5K run. In all, some 300 participants combined to make seven different classes of competition.

The course was clearly defined, and numerous volunteers could be found throughout the track.

Schroeder says he likes the current size of people participating and the length of the track.

“We have about 100 volunteers so it’s a safe environment. It’s a beautiful area, so it feels very quick. It’s got a mystique about it and most people want to see what it’s all about,” Schroeder said.

“A lot of athletes like the smaller size of the event. If you start letting 4-500 athletes compete, you start losing the personal touch to it. Right now our transition area handles what we take in. People are comfortable.”

The triathlon is largely seen as a nice family, and community, friendly event.

“It’s fun – all of the people you see and the friends you make on the course that you didn’t have before you got here,” said Genae Grove, who is from East Grand Forks and competed for her third time.

She has a lake place on Shallow Lake, and if “she finishes, she wins.”

“People are happy. It’s a fantastic race course. It’s just fun to be here,” said Russ Mathison, a volunteer at the event.

“I think it’s a good event for the community. It brings all of these people into town, and a lot of community exposure. It’s good for Nevis to have the reputation for having such a good event here. When people start signing up for this race it fills within 30 minutes.”

This year’s triathlon was won by Brooks Grossinger from Mayer, followed by David Lewis (Nevis) in second and Patrick Griffith (Maple Grove) in third.

Look for the triathlon to continue again next year under a new administration in Dave and Nancy Lewis.

Schroeder hopes that they will continue the tradition of keeping the event small, and the registration costs low.

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Nick Longworth
A graduate from St. Cloud State University, Nick photographs and writes a variety of stories for nearly every section of The Park Rapids Enterprise. His duties also include section layouts and online content submission.
(218) 732-3364
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