by Richard Uhlhorn
It couldn’t have been a more perfect weekend for the 1600+ athletes who ventured into Chelan for this year’s Chelanman.
The water was a perfect 70+ degrees and pretty smooth for the hundreds of swimmers participating in the Chelanman Triathlons.
The event was in its 11th year and each year brings back many participants who love Chelan plus an entire new group of athletes who want to challenge the different events of the multisport weekend.
Sam, a teacher at Mariner High School in Everett had his personal best day at this year’s event. He’s been attending and competing since 2011.
Sam (last name not noted) is a handicapped teacher and football coach from Mariner High School in Everett said, “I’ve been coming to Chelan (for this event) since 2011. I love it… the weather is perfect and everyone is chill.” Sam also stated that he had is personal best this year and is looking to beat it next year.
While Chelanman may jam up traffic at Lakeside and on 97A, but this year’s event went extremely smoothly, particularly because many people who would normally travel on 97A to Wenatchee heeded the warnings and used Hwy. 97 on the east side of the Columbia River.
Runners going out and in at the Hwy 97 transition point.
It all begins on Thursday and Friday when the Chelanman volunteers (we will call them the Tribe) begin to set up at Lakeside and athletes begin to pick up their registration packets or just register. “We had around 1500 pre-register,” said Race Director Julie Pittsinger. “There were at least another 100 or so who registered here.”
Swimmers get an early start on both days of the Chelanman Multisport weekend.
The event itself begins early on Saturday morning as the swimmers begin to warm up for the long swim up lake and back to Lakeside before taking up the bikes and then eventually finishing with their run session. The first wave of swimmers takes off at 7 a.m. for the start of the “Long Course Triathlon.” This is followed by the 10K run and half-marathon at 7:15 and the Olympic Course athletes at 7:30.
The swimming sessions during the weekend requires a lot of volunteer effort from kayakers to lifeguard swimmers and the Sheriff’s Department Marine Patrol officers like Bryan Moody (left) and Nigel Hunter (right) who took the time to pose with their rescue boards. They just received a new board, courtesy of the Multisport Foundation who donated $1,600 for its purchase.
Hundreds of swimmers in the water require a lot of safeguards. Every year the kayakers and lifeguards along with the Sheriff’s Department Marine Patrol with their personal watercraft and rescue boards are on the water making sure that everyone is safe and if they get into trouble, they have immediate help. Around the shoreline and docks, EMS personnel and lifeguards are stationed to also help if there are any water related problems.
Its called the tribe. Chelanman could not even begin to work as flawlessly as it does without volunteers who range from youth athletes to adults.
Each station has a number of volunteers to help with the transitions between swimming, biking and running. At the highway, traffic control is tightly controlled with professional traffic controllers along with Sheriff’s Department presence to make sure traffic and participants interact safely.
Keeping track of athletes is one of the major jobs at an event like this. They are all scored by Buduracing (buduracing.com for results), a timing company that Chelanman has been using since its inception in 2007.
Other volunteers include student athletes from Chelan High School and this year there was a group of young students handing out medals at the finish line. Student athletes represent the volleyball team, and in the past, the wrestling and football teams. The volleyball team runs the free food tent and helps with a variety of transition points.
Athletes and their families come from all around the region to compete in the various events at Chelanman.
The final act of the Chelanman Weekend has become a real favorite of the parents and spectators when the annual Splash and Dash takes place with the kids. It is a mini triathlon that brings many smiles and a lot of pride to the parents whose children paticipate. The following photos are from that race.
Chelanman Multisport Weekend was founded by Julie Pittsinger and a group of local athletes to promote healthy activities for the youth in the Lake Chelan Valley. One hundred percent of Chelanman profits are donated to the Lake Chelan Multisport Foundation with the proceeds being used to support the arts, literature, science and wellness programs for local youth. For a complete list of the programs the foundation has supported, go to: http://chelanman.com/about_32.html.
For results and photos, go to http://chelanman.com