Emerge from the water

Swimmers emerge from Rainy Lake at City Beach during the annual Backus Rainy Lake Triathlon in 2017.

After being discontinued for a year, a multisport race will return to Borderland in August.

The Great Up North Triathlon is set for Aug. 10, and is being brought back to the community by two local business owners who feel the event is important to Borderland.

“Triathlons can be for everyone,” said Ashley Hall, who is co-organizing the event with her wife, Erin Hall. “There’s still time to sign up and start training.”

The women own Evolve U Fitness & Wellness, and saw a need to bring the event back to the area after it was discontinued following the 2017 event.

“I did it in 2017 and it was so much fun and everybody was so encouraging,” Ashley said of her first triathlon. “I felt empowered when I was done.”

Since 2012, the Rainy Lake Triathlon was organized by Backus Community Center officials, who said the decision to discontinue the event was made due to a dwindling number of participants and the high costs of running the event.

In 2013, the event attracted 95 competitors, but was canceled the following summer due to a flood. Hall said she was told by organizers that having to cancel five years ago put a damper on the event.

“They said it was hard to recover from that,” she said.

And the numbers showed it. The races in 2015, 2016 and 2017 featured 61, 59 and 59 participants respectively.

But the Halls are hoping to rebuild the event, knowing that, too, could take time.

“We aren’t looking to necessarily make a profit this year,” Erin said, adding if that would happen, any funds will be turned around for use next year. “We just want to bring this event back and grow it from there.”

Right now, the women said there are 20 participants signed up, and they’re hoping to attract about 40 more.

“It’s about doing it,” Ashley said. “People are really intimidated by the word triathlon, and it’s not that bad. The majority of people aren’t doing it to finish first, they’re doing it to finish. You can absolutely start training now and finish.”

The course, consisting of a one-quarter-mile swim, a 15-mile bike ride and a 5K run, can be done individually or as a team. The cost to compete alone is $55 and the cost for a team is $75 until July 1. After that date, each price will increase by $10. Participants must pre-register and cannot sign up on the morning of the race.

Volunteers are needed, too.

“We are looking for people to get involved and help out,” Ashley said. “We think this will be a great opportunity for our area and we hope to attract people from all over... We want them to come here for the triathlon and realize all the great things our area has to offer.”

Festivities begin at 8:30 a.m. at City Beach Aug. 10. Ashley said there will be food and vendors set up in the parking lot and invites anyone interested in some kind of booth to get involved.

“We want to have stuff for the spectators to do, too,” she said. “This will be a really fun event.”

To register for the Great Up North Triathlon or to sign up as a volunteer, visit www.evolveufitnessifalls.com/triathlon.html

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