5 Beginner Friendly Local Triathlon Races
It’s rather obvious that the best way to attain a goal - is to actually set one! What better way is there to achieve the goal of racing your first triathlon by getting the right equipment, starting your training and registering for a race? Having a race mind is great, but taking the step of registering can help keep you motivated and accountable to your training plan.
There are many factors to consider when registering for a race; date, cost, size, organizer, swag are just a few. When thinking of your first triathlon - another thing to consider is how “first-time friendly” the event is. While every triathlon encourages and welcomes those racing for the first time, there are a few local races that are especially first-time friendly you might want to check out.
- Graniteman St. Cloud, June 21st
- Graniteman Clearwater, July 12th
- Graniteman Big Lake, August 9th
My very first race was Graniteman Clearwater back in 2005 so this series has a special place in my heart. The race organizers have been doing this for 10 years and run flawless events. There are typically less than 300 racers so they’re a great option if you’re concerned about crowd size. In addition, if you’re up for the extra challenge, consider registering for the entire series which offers an event each month of the summer!
- Lake Minnetonka, June 21st
What makes the Lake Minnetonka triathlon great as a first time option is the swim course. Although it’s a bit of a longer swim at ½ mile, the entire route follows the shore line. Swimming parallel to the shore makes sighting a bit easier and can help calm any nerves you may have about swimming out to the middle of a lake!
- Annandale, July 20th
Although a bit of a drive, the Heart of the Lakes Triathlon (HOTL for short) offers the shortest sprint distances around. With a ¼ mile swim, 9 mile bike and 2.5 mile swim, you can get your feet wet (yep, pun intended) in triathlon before considering doing longer distances.
- Minneapolis, August 17th
This is hands-down the best race for your first-time in the metro area – as long as you’re female! With free training plans, free clinics, buddy waves and an overwhelming encouraging atmosphere; it practically caters to the first-timer. Last year’s youngest racer was 14 and the oldest was 75 proving that triathlon is something anyone at any age can participate in.
- Maple Grove, August 23rd
While a bit larger in size, the Life Time Maple Grove Triathlon is still a great option if you’re racing your first triathlon. The swim start is a ‘time-trial’ format which sends racers into the water two-by-two every 5 seconds. It’s also got an assigned transition area based on your race number which makes the transition area a bit less intimating since there is no need to ‘pick the right spot’. Lastly its unique venue provides a great experience for friends and family to spectate!
We’re fortunate in Minnesota to have a plethora of races to choose from – it’s not an exaggeration to say that you could race a triathlon every weekend if you wanted. To scope out other race options, check out the race calendar at Minnesota Tri News.