Months and months of training have prepared local athletes for the upcoming event: Rhoades McKee Reeds Lake Triathlon.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, all the blood, sweat and tears will finally pay off as racers come together for this annual event. This is the 35th year that East Grand Rapids has hosted the event, and for Betsy Granstra, this is her fifth year as race director.
“My main role is to ensure race day is a safe and positive experience for our participants and volunteers,” said Granstra. “There are also lots of logistics with making sure everything runs smoothly, from working with East Grand Rapids Public Safety, to securing permits and picking out awards.”
Year after year the race fills up with ambitious local athletes, and the community seems to keep coming back for more.
“We are a lot of triathletes first triathlon; so many like to come back every year to race again,” explained Granstra. “We have two gentlemen who have raced every year with us. They will be back again this year going for number 35.”
Race Options & New This Year
Every year, three racing events are available to anyone ages 14 and up:
Triathlon: This main event consists of a 750-meter swim through Reeds Lake, a 20K bike ride around the lake, and a 5K run.
Duathlon: For racers who are unable to swim or prefer not to swim, the duathlon includes a 5K run, a 20K bike ride, followed by another 5K run.
Aquabike: For racers who only wish to swim and bike, this race includes a 750-meter swim followed by a 20K bike ride.
Triathlon Relay: Finally, the relay allows a team of three members to split the work with one swimmer completing the 750-meter swim, another racer doing the 20K bike ride, and a final runner taking the 5K.
New to the race this year is an enhanced Elite Sprint Championship Wave for athletes who have the skills, ability and drive to compete at the highest caliber of competition. Participants will compete for more than $3,000 in prize money for the top 10 male and top 10 female elite athletes.
Racers wishing to qualify for this wave must meet the following time standards: Qualifying male time 1:25.00; Qualifying female time 1:35.00.
Athletes wishing to be in the Elite Sprint Championship Wave will need to email race director, Betsy Granstra, at firstname.lastname@example.org, with their intent and previous race times.
Registration is open until Thursday, Sept. 6 online, and until 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 7 at the East Grand Rapids Recreation Department. There will be no registration on race day.
Packet pick-up is on Friday, Sept. 7 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 8 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. at East Grand Rapids Recreation Department.
To avoid the crowd on Saturday, racers are encouraged to complete their body marking on Friday night during packet pick-up.
Race Day Logistics
The first wave of racers will take off on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8 a.m.
The swim starts in John Collins Park and swimmers perform a U-shape around Reeds Lake.
Bikers do two loops around Reeds Lake, with the course including Hall Street, Plymouth Street and Wealthy Street (through downtown).
And finally, the running portion takes place through East Grand Rapids neighborhoods, with the finish line at Wealthy Street, in the heart of Gaslight Village near the entrance of the East Grand Rapids High School pool.
Awards include a finisher medal for every racer that crosses the finish line, as well as first, second and third place medals that we present to our age group finishers.
There also is first, second and third place Masters overall awards and prize money presented to the overall winners, and a separate award and placement system for the Elite Wave.
In the case of poor weather, the race can be delayed up to 90 minutes while officials determine if it is safe for racers to proceed.
If you missed out on training for this year’s race, pick a spot on the course to come out and cheer on the community as race to the finish line, and consider planning and prepping for next year’s race, set for Sept. 7, 2019.
*Photos courtesy of Rhoades McKee Reeds Lake Triathlon