10 Early Season Triathlons to Try This Year


Triathlon season reaches its fever pitch in the Midwest in July and August, but that doesn’t mean you have to wait until mid-summer to swim, bike and run. These regional races provide local athletes with the opportunity to test their fitness early in the year with everything from sprint to half Ironman-distance races. Read up on these events, or visit myracepal.com to find even more area triathlons.


J-Hawk Earlybird Adult & Child Triathlon

Website: bit.ly/J-HawkEarlybird

Date: May 1

Location: Whitewater, Wisconsin

Distance: Olympic (1000-yard swim, 26.5-mile bike, six-mile run); Sprint (500-yard swim, 13-mile bike, three-mile run); Child (200-yard swim, four-mile bike, one-mile run); Relay also available

From the Race Director, Cheri Zimdars: “We have newbies to elite-level triathletes. Our newbies like the pool swim—only two to a lane, so no crowding—and the run course is through a nature preserve, which makes it challenging and fun.”

Claim to Fame: The race takes place at the Williams Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater


TriByKnight 2016

Website: experience.scheels.com/event/tribyknight

Date: May 7

Location: Waverly, Iowa

Distance: Sprint (300-yard swim, 15-mile bike, 5K run); Relay also available

From the Race Official, Carrie Tysdahl: “The race has consistently drawn a competitive field of athletes and has great prizes from our title sponsor, Scheels. It is also a good opportunity for early qualification for the USAT Age-Group Nationals to be held in Omaha, Nebraska this year.”

Claim to Fame: TriByKnight takes place at Wartburg College, with its swim in the Wartburg-Waverly Sport & Wellness Center and its run through the college’s campus.


Leaning Tower YMCA Tower Triathlon

Website: www.ymcachicago.org/leaningtower/pages/tower-triathlon

Date: May 15

Location: Niles

Distance: Sprint (450-yard swim, 18K bike, 5K run); Relay also available

Claim to Fame: If open water swimming scares you away from triathlons, the Tower Triathlon holds its swim in the YMCA’s pool, giving you the chance to complete your swim in clear, clean water.


Tri-Shark: Triathlon Classic & Duathlon

Website: tri-shark.org/web/TriSharkOrg2

Date: June 4

Location: Hudson

Distance: Sprint (600-yard swim, 13-mile bike, 5K run); Duathlon (two-mile run, 13-mile bike, 5K run); Relay also available

From the Race Director, Colleen Klein: “With two large triathlon clubs in our area (Tri-Shark Triathlon Club and Grim Reaper Fitness), the Tri-Shark race is like a big family reunion. Both clubs pitch in to help with race setup and tear down and dozens of members participate in either our triathlon or duathlon.”

Claim to Fame: The race includes a plethora of awards for overall winners, age group winners, Clydesdales, Clydesdales Masters, Athenas, Athena Masters and relay teams. The race also presents fastest event awards to the fastest male and female swimmer, cyclist and runner in the triathlon and two fastest runners and cyclists in the duathlon.


Leon’s Triathlon

Website: leonstriathlon.com

Date: June 5

Location: Hammond, Indiana

Distance: Olympic (1,500-meter swim, 40K bike, 10K run); Sprint (750-meter swim, 20K bike, 5K run); Relay also available

Claim to Fame: In addition to its reputation as a fast race, Leon’s Triathlon boasts a strong commitment to honoring military members, with thousands of United States flags along the course, a clinic for injured military members organized by Dare2tri and more.


Indianapolis Sprint Triathlon #1

Website: www.tuxbro.com/entry-info/SprintTri/SprintTri-Home.php

Date: June 11

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana

Distance: Sprint (500-meter run, 10-mile bike, three-mile swim); Duathlon (two-mile run, 10-mile bike, three-mile run); Relay also available

From the Race Producer, Don Carr: “The Indianapolis Sprint Triathlon is a favorite of many as it allows triathletes of all abilities a fun, safe, scenic course inside of beautiful Eagle Creek Park. Athletes again will receive five-split timing along with a quality shirt and more than 100 age-division awards.”

Claim to Fame: If you enjoy the race or can’t make the June date, the Indianapolis Sprint Triathlon series continues with races on July 16 and August 20.


Esprit de She

Website: www.espritdeshe.com/events/triathlon/naperville

Date: June 12

Location: Naperville

Distance: Sprint (.75K swim, 21.4K bike, 5K run); Relay also available

Claim to Fame: This women’s-only event welcomes triathletes of all abilities, but particularly caters to beginners with a swim course in the Centennial Beach Reservoir, which features lane markers in addition to buoys and has “Swim Angels” available to provide extra encouragement.


Toughman Wisconsin Sprint & Half Ironman Triathlon

Website: www.dutrirun.com/toughmanwi

Date: June 18

Location: Sherwood, Wisconsin

Distance: Sprint (.25-mile swim, 22-mile bike, 5K run); Half (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run); Aqua Bike (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike); Relay also available

From the Race Director Ben West: “Toughman Wisconsin is the only race where you can swim in the largest lake in Wisconsin, bike along the shoreline with great views and run the trails of a Wisconsin state park.”

Claim to Fame: Toughman Wisconsin takes place at High Cliff State Park, 45 minutes southwest of Green Bay, and triathletes will quickly understand the state park’s name on the bike course, which features nearly 200 feet of elevation gain in the first two miles.


Railsplitter Olympic Triathlon 2016

Website: triharderpromotions.com/railsplitter

Date: June 19

Location: Petersburg

Distance: Olympic (.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike, 6.2-mile run); Relay also available

From the Race Promoter, Steve O’Connor: “The run takes you through an 1800s pioneer village where Abe Lincoln lived for six years. The finish is under centuries-old oaks where Abe used to frequent.”

Claim to Fame: After a swim in Lake Petersburg and a bike through country roads, triathletes run through Lincoln’s New Salem Historic Site, a reconstruction of New Salem, and will pass recreated locations including a blacksmith shop, a carding mill, stores and homes.


Lake in the Hills Triathlon

Website: www.lith.org/parksrec/page/2016-triathlon

Date: June 19

Location: Lake in the Hills

Distance: Sprint (.5-mile swim, 15.5-mile bike, four-mile run); Relay also available

Claim to Fame: The race kicks off with an elite wave, and features a point-to-point course that takes you from Woods Creek Lake, through Lake in the Hills and ends at Ken Carpenter Park.