New-look Chinook Triathlon coming to Sylvan Lake

The Chinook Triathlon will arrive in Sylvan Lake for the first time on Aug. 1, bringing some of the world’s top triathletes with it.

Following a 10-year history at Calgary’s Lake Midnapore, the Chinook Triathlon Festival will arrive in Sylvan Lake for the first time on Aug. 1, bringing some of the world’s top triathletes with it.

They’ll compete in a number of events slated to be held throughout the day, including an Olympic Triathlon, a Half Iron Triathlon and an Olympic Aquabike.

With a top-notch level of talent competing in an ideal triathlon environment, race director Jordan Bryden is forecasting the day to be a major success.

“We have a really cool pro race coming that is bringing some of the best athletes in the world into town,” he said. “I think this year we’re going to see some really fun and positive results.”

Sylvan Lake was selected to host this year’s event not just for its convenient location between Calgary and Edmonton, but also for its triathlon-friendly atmosphere, he added.

“It’s literally the best possible location — right outside of Red Deer and between Calgary and Edmonton … and pretty much we wanted to grow it into a little bit of a bigger event, and something that’s a little bit more community-based,” he said. “Sylvan Lake is kind of on a different level in terms of what you get out of that. It’s very similar to the energy you feel in Penticton.”

A large part of the festival’s action will take place in and around the eastern portion of Centennial Park along the lakeshore, with minimal disruption to traffic in the area expected.

With the first race kicking off at 7 a.m., all events are expected to wrap up by early afternoon.

“In the past, the race has gone straight through town … and that was obviously a concern of ours,” said Bryden. “We wanted to make sure (this year) that it was going to be a benefit to the community, not a hindrance — especially on the long weekend.”

A full course map and outline of areas the festival’s events will traverse is available online at www.chinooktriathlon.ca.

Challenge Penticton medallist Chris Bagg and Ironman champion Heather Wurtele are among the triathletes who will compete for the festival’s $10,000 prize purse.

Bryden said organizers would like to see Sylvan Lake eventually become the annual host of “the next big destination race” complete with over 1,000 triathletes and a prize purse of $75,000.