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Sprint triathlon returning to Lake Nighthorse

Second edition of event set for Sept. 10
Brian Miller pedals up a hill during the first annual Lake Nighthorse Sprint Triathlon last year. The triathlon will return for a second edition on Sept. 10. (Cody Olivas/Durango Herald)

The Durango Tri Club is bringing back the Lake Nighthorse Sprint Triathlon for a second edition on Sept. 10.

The format will be the same as last year. The triathlon will begin with a 750-meter open-water swim, followed by a 20-kilometer bike ride and finish with a 5K run.

The triangular swim will begin and end near the lake’s swim beach. Wetsuits are advised, but not mandatory. The bike segment will exit the park and head up Wildcat Canyon Road, climbing about 800 feet, while the run will loop around the park.

“It’s the shortest of the standard (triathlon) distances, but it’s still fairly challenging,” said race director David Rakita.

Last year, in the race’s first annual event, 71 athletes competed in the triathlon, including five teams of three. David Preston finished first in 1 hour, 11 minutes and 8 seconds while Kathryn Ross finished third overall and won the women’s crown in 1:16:00.

Registration for this year’s event is ahead of last year’s pace with about 53 participants already registered. Rakita said it’s split about 50/50 between La Plata County residents and people from outside the county.

The team relays can be male, female or coed, composed of two or three people. The registration deadline is Sept. 8, but competitors need to register by Aug. 22 to be guaranteed a T-shirt. Rakita said they hope for about 100 competitors, but space is not limited.

Rakita called it a “low-key event” and said there will be two swim heats to reduce some of the anxiety. “That makes it less stressful for less experienced swimmers,” he said.

There also will be awards for the first-place finisher in each age group, which are in five-year groupings, ranging from ages 16 to 19 to 70 and over. Random prizes will be given away during the awards ceremony.

Sponsors and volunteers are needed to help with the event. Rakita said the sponsors will help cover the cost to administer the race, which costs around $5,000, and help keep entry fees low.

“We have great cooperation with the city, which allows us to do it out there,” Rakita added.

More information on registration, sponsoring and volunteering at https://bit.ly/3p8COBI. Rakita said people interested in volunteering can contact the event director.