Sprinting off the starting line

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Construction forces Triathlon to scrap bike leg

By Kirsten Laskey

The Los Alamos Recreation Division ran into a roadblock in planning this year’s Los Alamos Triathlon.

The construction around Diamond Drive forced organizers to put the brakes on the bicycle leg of the triathlon because of safety reasons. This year only, the triathlon has been transformed into an Aquathlon — a run, swim, run event.

Racers will compete in a 7K run, a 400-meter swim and a 5K run. The swimming portion will be held at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center while the running will take place along Canyon Road.

Participants will hit the ground running at 7 a.m. Aug. 21 at the Aquatic Center. There will be the usual awards, cash prizes and giveaways.

Dianne Marquez, recreation programs manager, said the event will be fun despite losing the bicycle portion.

“It’s still a great community event. Aside from the bike leg, it’s still going to be run the same way it has run every year,” Marquez said. “We’re still planning to put on a high quality event.”

This is the 36th annual triathlon. It has never missed a year, Marquez said. The only other time the event had to postpone bicycling was when it was held in April and a snowstorm kept bikes from being taken outside.

The triathlon will offer several categories to run in – elite, individual male and female, an Athena division for women who weigh 150 pounds or more and a Clydesdale category for men who weigh 200 pounds or more. There are also male, female and coed teams that can include two or three competitors.

Cash prizes will be distributed to the overall winners. And long-sleeved T-shirts and knapsacks are included in the entry fee.

Jacque Kottenstette started doing triathlons a couple of years ago to keep in shape.

“I would say if you are interested in having a good time and getting into shape, I think (a triathlon) is a good way to do it. I certainly never regret it when I do one,” she said.

The Kids Triathlon will be at 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at the aquatic center.

It is open to children between 3-10 years old.

The traditional competition was tossed aside in favor of a sports festival.

Marquez said the objective is to introduce young people to sports and emphasize fun and fitness. There will be no medals and times will not be recorded. Youth will participate in running, swimming and biking.

Marquez said she believes the triathlon is a good way to attract childrens’ interest in physical fitness because “I believe fitness is a lifestyle … you have to be engage in it to make it a lifestyle.”