The MAC Triathlon organizers received some pretty stinky news just three days before the MAC Tri this past Saturday: their swimming venue was no longer safe for swimmers. So they had two options: cancel the swim, turning their triathlon into a duathlon and risk losing participants OR find a completely new venue.
Enter the City of Mitchell’s Rec Department. Three days later the event took place with a completely new venue including a different bike and run route. And participants loved it.
The MAC Tri took place Saturday, June 10 at the Mitchell Aquatic Center (results are here). Participants swam 500 meters (5 laps in the 50-meter pool) snake-swim fashion, and then biked 14 miles in an all-right-hand-turn course and ran a 5K through the flat, shady neighborhood near the aquatic center. Triathletes conquered some tough conditions with gale-force winds threatening to scoot their bikes off the road and then increasing heat on the run.
No one likes criticism, but since the inception of the MAC tri two years ago, MAC tri organizers have responded positively to pieces of advice from the seasoned triathletes who have competed in their race. This year’s event produced a gem in the making on the South Dakota triathlon scene. Here’s the lowdown:
- The course: despite having 24 hours to solidify a course, organizers found bike and run routes that worked. They kept the bike course to a right-hand-turn-only course and kept participants mostly on quiet, smooth, country roads with some challenging hills. Participants had no problems navigating both the bike and run course with simple rectangles to follow, clear markings, and helpful volunteers. Additionally, the organizers had ice cold water at the finish line and at both miles one and two on the run. With heat like what Saturday brought, athletes needed the aid.
- The post-race atmosphere: Caribou coffee. Need we say more? To be serious, as the primary race sponsor Caribou Coffee & Einstein Bagels set the bar for races in South Dakota (and promised to come back next year). They provided participants with fruit, bagels & schmear, and cold press coffee & cream even before the race started. Then once participants had caught their breath, they had the best post-race meal we’ve ever seen with bagel sandwiches (turkey, ham, and chicken salad), chips, and cookies. Additionally, a sound system with great music kept participants and spectators in great spirits from early in race set up until well after the last participant crossed the finish line.
- The schwag: all participants receive not only a t-shirt with one of our favorite logos in the state but also a really nice participants’ medal. The top three men and women each received a quality trophy as well.
Some super speedy triathletes crushed the new MAC course (effectively setting records): Ryan Remmers of Watertown used his amazing bike skills to top the men’s podium, with the fleet-footed Lance Bergeson coming in second. Local talent Cameron Deinert of Mt Vernon took third place quite handily.
For the women Teresa Van Hyfte use a well-balanced attack to crack the overall podium, winning the women’s race and taking third overall. The always stylish Jonette Murphy made her trip across the state from Rapid City well worth the miles by taking home the second-place trophy. Lisa Murphy of Tea used her Michael Phelps-like swimming skills and overall great tri-experience to capture third place.
A huge kudos goes out to the crew in Mitchell including Lacey Musick, Emily Hohn, and (one of our favorite triathletes) Marty Takagi along with the rest of the MAC Tri steering committee for not only putting on a great race but also responding so well to feedback of past triathletes. The resulting event rivals (and may even top) the other local races on the South Dakota tri scene. Congratulations to all of the triathletes who conquered the wind and heat!