Niles gears up for its 20th Triathlon

Published 10:40 pm Monday, August 27, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – The 20th annual Niles Triathlon will take place on Saturday, Sept. 1. This is a long-running, highly successful event which draws people from all over the United States during Labor Day weekend.
Co-Director of the race, Liz Capron, said everyone involved is excited about this year's event, as it will include things that haven't been done in the past.
Friday night, a pasta dinner will be offered for free to those who have registered to take part in the race. Live entertainment such as concerts, quality prizes for all participants and professional athletes and seminar speakers are among a few of the other events.
"It takes several months of pre-planning for an event of this size. We contact the authorities, the township and the DNR in advance. We also go through safety plans, road and sign preparation, as well as contacting potential sponsors," Capron said.
She also added that Community involvement is essential.
"We have Boy Scout Troop 550 and the Niles High School band come and help with set up and tear down and the water course is set up by Mike Peters of East Main Gardens and that takes quite a bit of time and planning too," she added.
Over the last few years, the Triathlon has decreased in participation, which the club believes stems from a lack of advertisement and publicity. To change this and bring the Triathlon back to its glory, the club has been busy recruiting sponsors and have teamed up with health clubs like the YMCA and the Triple Threat Triathlon Club. They also have added two races – an olympic distance race for veterans and a Super Sprint for beginners.
The Niles Triathlon introduced the sport to Michiana for the first time in 1982. After just three years, the Noon optimist Club took over and ran the event until 2006. The club decided to exit their involvement with the event after their trailer with all the supplies for the event was stolen over the winter. The club also made the decision based on the aging membership of the club and the declining interest in the event.
That's when the Riverfront Optimist Club decided to take on the event and rebuild it to become one of the Midwest's premiere multi-sport events.
The Riverfront Club also operates the Niles Bluegrass Festival, the Niles Youth Fest and the local Dragon Boat Challenge. They have much experience in promoting and operating large scale events. Many of the Riverfront members were involved with the triathlon and enlisted the help of the local Niles-Buchanan YMCA and the "Triple Threat" Triathlon Club. The event is now on a new course to ensure its success.
Entry forms, as well as other information, are available on the web at Cost for the triathlon is $65 per person. Cost for the Super Sprint is $45.
Friday Night Schedule, Aug. 31
4-8 p.m. – Registration
5-7:30 p.m. – Pasta Dinner
6-8 p.m. – Live Music Concert
6:30 p.m. – Triathlon Seminar
7 p.m. – Guest Speaker
8 p.m. – Wet Suit Raffle
Saturday Schedule, Sept. 1
6:30-7:30 a.m. – Race Day Registration
6:30-8 a.m. – Pre Registered check in
8:20 a.m. – Transition area closes
8:30 a.m. – Olympic distance race starts
9 a.m. – Super Sprint event starts
Noon – Awards