From 1988-2014, the Fort Lewis College Department of Housing organized the “Tri the Rim” triathlon each year in April. The event quickly became a popular initiation into triathlon season, and many were disappointed when the streak ended after 26 years.
April often presented a variety of weather challenges including snow, sleet, rain and the occasional heat wave. Springtime in the Rockies can be a bit fickle and unforgiving.
This year, with the collaboration of the recently formed Durango Triathlon Club and the exercise and health sciences and athletic departments at Fort Lewis College, “Tri the Rim” will return Sept. 30.
Though there is no guarantee of the weather in September, either, it is usually milder and an excellent time of year for racing.
“The main goal of the Durango Triathlon Club,” according to Michelle Blankenship, club president, “is to continue to grow the sport of triathlon in Durango and the surrounding communities. We wanted to be involved in putting on a triathlon, so it was a great collaboration with Fort Lewis College to bring back what was a very popular triathlon in the past.”
The triathlon is going back to it’s roots in many ways. It will closely replicate the original distances from the 1990s. The swim segment will be 800 yards, the bike 11 miles and the run 5 kilometers.
“We wanted it to be more like the official sprint distances of 750-meter swim, 20K bike and 5K run,” said Blankenship. “We have no doubt that anyone who comes out and participates will have all the time they need to complete it.”
Both the bike and run segments will be what they were previously, utilizing the grassy area around the clock tower as the transition area.
“We wanted to keep the same map and direction as before for the bike and run,” said Blankenship. “We had the maps, and it was easier to get the approval of the college using the same course.”
Melissa Knight-Maloney, the chair of the Health Sciences department at FLC, said the idea of resurrecting Tri the Rim came out of a planning meeting for the Durango Triathlon Club.
“We brought in Rotem Ishay, health sciences lab coordinator, and Lynne Andrew, senior associate director of athletics, because it made sense to have all those departments involved,” she said.
Ishay, a former FLC collegiate national cycling champion, will oversee the bike portion while Andrew, who has managed the FLC pool for many years, will be in charge of the swim segment. Former world champion XTERRA triathlete and retired physical therapist Dave Rakita will oversee the running portion of the race.
The race will utilize many FLC health sciences and athletics students as volunteers.
“It’s an example of one of the projects we do where students really reach out to the community, that is a very important experience for students,” said Ishay.
“We encourage all our coaches and students to be engaged in and partner with the community and are excited to have a wider outreach with everyone chipping in and helping,” Andrew said.
The Durango Triathlon Club would like to see this once again become an annual event that the community looks forward to. Participation is key to keeping races alive in our community, and this event is very beginner-friendly.
Fort Lewis College has been exploring adding NCAA Women’s Triathlon, and this race could also help identify collegiate women who might be interested in the sport.
If you haven’t already signed up, it is not too late. The registration link is on the Durango Triathlon Club website at: https://www.durangotriclub.org.
Reach Marjorie Brinton at email@example.com.