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Park Rapids triathlon will start the summer endurance season May 15

Riley Kimball competed last year in the kids' triathlon event, which is growing in popularity. (Riham Feshir/Enterprise)

It might be hard to think of biking and running when the ground has a fresh coating of white powder, but organizers of the 3rd Annual Lakes to Pines Triathlon are doing just that.

The May 15 Park Rapids event is approaching quickly, even though wintry conditions may make it seem like it'll never come.

"Will the snow be gone by then?" laughed Glen Goebel, one of the event's organizers. "Actually we thought that last year, too."

And the year before.

The triathlon features a 500-yard swim, a 14.7-mile bike ride through Park Rapids and north into the county and a 5K run. The swim is held in the high school pool; the run finishes on the high school track.

The event is a fundraiser for the high school swim team and Little Panthers program. It's organized and staffed by the Park Rapids Swimming Boosters.

Goebel, his wife and the other planners are all parents of swimmers. But he said some community-spirited locals even come out to help during the day.

Volunteers and sponsoring business put on a spaghetti feed the night before the race and help mark the routes.

Lakes to Pines is limited to 100 entries, Goebel said, mostly because the pool limits the number of swimmers. Costs to enter are $50 per individual; $90 per team.

But unlike other triathlons, this event has a special kids division, a 50-yard swim, a 1-mile bike ride and a 300-yard run. Kids pay only $10 to test their skills and endurance.

"The kids event is growing in popularity," Goebel said. "Last year we had 22 kids."

The May 15 date places the event among the first in the region.

"We cater it to people getting the jump on the summer triathlons," Goebel said. "We're pretty low key."

To register, you can check out the triathlon's Web site at www.lakesto

Snow or not, the event begins at 9 a.m.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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