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Room to grow: Triathlon moves to DL

For the first three years of its existence, the Young Life Triathlon had a happy home at the Castaway Club outside Audubon.

But as participation grew, organizers gradually came to realize that they were outgrowing the facilities there.

So when a scheduling conflict arose at Castaway, they began eyeing a new possibility.

"We wanted to bring it into Detroit Lakes this year," said Peter Paulson, area director for Lakes Area Young Life.

A fund-raiser for the Lakes Area Young Life Ministry, the annual event has grown to attract some of the top triathletes of the region, Paulson said.

With its mile-long sand beach, large lake and well-tended trails, the DL City Park and surrounding area is ideal for hosting some 220-odd triathletes when they converge on the community this Saturday, Aug. 18.

"All the pieces seemed to come together," Paulson said.

With the new venue, the long-course race has been extended to an Olympic-length event, including a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike ride and 10-kilometer run. (The sprint, or short course, will stay about the same, with a one-third mile swim, 10-mile bike ride and 3-mile run.)

But what made the new location even more attractive was the much-larger available parking area, and the increased opportunities for spectators to watch the event.

"Castaway is a great place to host a triathlon, but there was definitely a cap on how large it could grow," Paulson said.

"In Detroit Lakes, it can grow as large as we want it to be," he added. "The benefits of moving it into town far outweigh any difficulties we might have (with relocating)," Paulson added.

"Triathlon is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world," he continued. "Part of the reason for that is that it combines three sports in one."

And with the short course, you don't even need to be that experienced at it.

"The short course gives an average person the chance to get out there and see if it's something they enjoy," Paulson said. "No matter who you are, or what level your athletic ability, you can be a part of a triathlon.

Competitors in the triathlon also range in age from as young as 12-13 to as old as 80, Paulson noted.

And organizers have also made it a great opportunity for parents competing in the event to bring along their families.

"We really want to create a family event here," he said. "We try to have things for them (kids) to do going on the whole day, and we encourage parents to come make a weekend of it and enjoy our town."

Paulson and the other organizers are quite pleased to see the support that this event has received from the community.

"It's been a great partnership," he said.

Competitors can register any time between now and Friday, Aug. 17; no day-of-event entries will be accepted this year, Paulson cautioned.

For more information about Lakes Area Young Life, or the Triathlon, log onto, or call Paulson at the Detroit Lakes Young Life office, 218-847-3567.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454