Tri Go Far Triathlon debut scheduled at West Fargo's Hulbert Aquatic Center
As the Hulbert Aquatic Center began to take shape, West Fargoan and Fargo Marathon Executive Director Mark Knutson started to think about how we might bring land and sea athletes to West Fargo.
On Saturday, June 23, West Fargo will host its first triathlon when the Tri Go Far Triathlon makes its debut at 8 a.m.
The Hulbert Aquatic Center will host the swimming portion, while the 11-mile bike course and the five-kilometer running course circling the aquatic center and West Fargo neighborhoods.
Knutson said this is one of few events like this in the metro. He sat on the board when getting the Hulbert Aquatic Center pool in place and thought if and when that happened he could organize a triathlon. The previous problem with a metro triathlon, he said, was having the body of water to do it. Now with a 50-meter stretch pool this event is more manageable, he said.
"It just seemed like the right time to do it," Knutson said. "It's really the first opportunity I think in the area to host one just because the pool is so much bigger."
The stretch 50-meter pool, which was used for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, has 10 50-meter lanes that are seven feet wide which will be used by two people per lane for the 500-meter swim. Then the transition area will be just outside the south exit in the parking lot. Competitors then will put on their biking shoes and helmet to go on a 5.5 mile bike course for two loops. Back at the Aquatic Center will be another transition for the 3.1 mile run through a residential area before finishing on the running track on the south side of the Aquatic Center.
Knutson said construction at 9th Street, 13th Avenue and Sheyenne Street posed some challenges to planning. Even a veteran organizer like Knutson felt nervous about making a bike route in the area. He said he hopes traffic is used to going slow around the area while an estimated 150 participants are biking and running. He said he's also looking for more volunteers to set up routes and make sure the area is safe.
"I think putting it on in my backyard makes it easier. It's a great city to do it here," said Knutson. "I have no idea what the fan support will be for it, but it'll be a good, safe route."
Knutson said city, police and aquatic center staff have worked well together to make the event possible. He said he has bigger hopes for the event, assuming this year goes well, next year. He hopes to have a more "exciting and intriguing" finish on Sheyenne Street after construction and improvements are done there.
"I'm working hard to get prepared for it," Knutson said. "I just wanted to have some fun with it. I really enjoy a triathlon. It's a great event. It's challenging but also very rewarding. It's just something different to do."