The Outland Challenge: A Beautiful Course for a Worthy Cause

outland challengeThe seventh Outland Challenge will take place this coming Saturday at the Lake Cochrane State Park near Gary, South Dakota. (register here)

Do not let the obscure location of this race fool you: it’s a real experience.

“We put on a production,” race founder Steve Scott says about the race, citing one of the most beautiful courses in the state (with the cleanest lake that we know of), an entertaining race announcer, cowbells at the finish line, and motivating music throughout the event.

FB_IMG_1499744164480This year’s event has the typical distances that folks up at Lake Cochrane call a sprint race: a 400-yard swim in the spring-fed Lake Cochrane; a 15-mile bike ride through the rolling hills near, through, and beyond Gary; and the challenging and beautiful 4.4-mile run around the lake. Those who don’t dwell on the difficulty of the hills can easily focus on the gorgeous prairie that surrounds this course. Well-trained, encouraging volunteers greet participants on many points in this course as well. This year’s event will also feature a finish-line meal once again for participants thanks to the Lake Cochrane Association.

The 2017 Outland Challenge is not just a sprint triathlon. It also has a 4.4-mile competitive road race. The road race will begin as soon as the last triathlete has left the State Park. Competitive runners will go first, with the fun runners and walkers leaving three minutes later.

As always, the OC staff has chosen a worthy recipient of their profits. This year’s financial gift will go to SACH, Stewards Against Childhood Hunger. This privately funded organization provides nutritional supplements for any child who signs up in the Clear Lake School District. So participants can feel good knowing their registration fee goes to help a fantastic cause.

This race has one of the biggest cash payouts of any race in the state. The top male and female athlete will each receive $200. The second place male and female athletes will receive $125. And the third place male and female athletes will receive $75. Additionally, the top team will receive $100. This race also is the only race in the state that recognizes and awards sportsmanship. Volunteers and athletes can nominate an individual for the sportsmanship award, and the winner of this award will receive $200. Any man or woman who breaks the course record will receive not just bragging rights but an additional $100.

The Lake Loop Run offers a pretty sweet payout too. The top men and women receive $75, second place receives $50, and third place receives $25.

Great athletes will receive a pretty great payout.

This year’s winnings looks ripe for the taking thus far. With lower numbers so far at the OC, the top prizes are up for grabs. The men’s field has some heavy hitters that we’ll keep on the down low for now. Just know this: the pros from Minnesota are unavailable, so some of the fastest locals in the state are eyeing the prize at Cochrane.

If you’re looking for an overall great experience, come up to Lake Cochrane Saturday morning (but register before that). You’ll find yourself challenged and rewarded all in the same day. Plus, we’ll be there taking the best races pictures in all of South Dakota to memorialize the day.



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