By Steve Hubrecht
Athletic valley residents who enjoy swimming and enjoy running, or better yet enjoy them both, will be delighted to know that the Lake Windermere Aquathlon is back again.
The competitive event combines both pursuits, with participants first testing themselves with a swim in the open waters of Lake Windermere and then following that up with a run. Think of it as two-thirds of a triathlon (a triathlon minus the bike segment).
Although triathlons tend to get the lion’s share of media coverage, other combination versions of the various elements that make up a triathlon (swimming, biking, and running) have existed for quite some time, including duathlons (combination of biking and running), aquabikes (combination of swimming and biking) and, or course, aquathlons (swimming and running).
The initial Lake Windermere Aquathlon, held back in 2019, was the first ever aquathlon event in the Columbia Valley. It was held at Lakeshore Resort and Campground and was quite successful, drawing some 60 to 70 participants.
“It was small but mighty, and very well received,” Lake Windermere Aquathlon Communications Director Jacquelyn Oriold told the Pioneer.
The nonprofit society that organized the aquathlon was keen to build on that successful first year, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic struck, resulting in the event being cancelled in both 2020 and 2021.
With restrictions now lifting, organizers are set to go ahead with the second edition of the event this year, in a month’s time.
“We’re so excited to be back. A lot of people have been missing these types of large athletic events since the pandemic began. They really allow people to come together in sport, and we haven’t had anything like that in a while,” said Oriold.
This year’s version of the Lake Windermere Aquathlon is being held in a new location, as Lakeshore Resort and Campground is still closed, with the swim happening at Kinsmen Beach, and the running course following a loop through parts of Invermere close to the beach.
“It’s going to be a great venue. It will be very spectator friendly. With the runners looping through the same spot, spectators will be able to cheer them on throughout the race,” said Oriold.
The Lake Windermere Aquathlon is also potentially a great entry for those looking to ease their way into multi-sport events.
“It’s perhaps not as intimidating as a triathlon for people new to multi-sport events,” explained Oriold. “And the barrier to entry is a bit easier, as you don’t need a fancy bike.”
Oriold is hopeful this year’s aquathlon will attract as many, or even more, participants as it did in 2019.
“We have capacity to support up to 100 people a day, so 200 people total is our maximum capacity,” explained Oriold.
Those wishing to do the aquathlon have their choice of a variety of options: there is the aquathlon long course (a 1,500 metre swim and 10 kilometre run), the aquathlon standard course (a 750 metre swim and five kilometre run), the Tri Hub open water swim (a 1,500 metre swim), the aquathlon mixed super sprint relay swim (a 3 x one kilometre metre run, a 300 metre swim, and then a one kilometre run), a female super sprint (a one kilometre run, a 300 metre swim, and then a one kilometre run), a male super sprint (a one kilometre run, a 300 metre swim, and then a one kilometre run), a 5-to-7-year old youth aquathlon (a 50 metre swim and 500 metre run), an 8-to-11-year old youth aquathlon (a 100 metre swim and a one kilometre run), and a retro swimwear contest.
The Lake Windermere Aquathlon will be held on Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29. Organizers are still looking for volunteers to help out with the event.
To register, and to find out more, visit: www.lakewindaqua.com.