Sports

Triathlons combine forces, will host one large event this summer

A HOTS competitor comes out of the water last year. - Rik Forschmiedt Photo
A HOTS competitor comes out of the water last year.
— image credit: Rik Forschmiedt Photo

The organizers of Vashon’s two triathlon events, the XTERRA Vashon Off-Road Triathlon and the Heart of the Sound (HOTS) triathlon, have joined forces this year to offer these races as well as a separate trail run and open swim, over one endurance-testing weekend.

The newly christened Vashon Island Clean-and-Dirty Multi-Sport Festival Weekend will take place July 5 and 6 at Dockton Park. Organizers describe it as an effort to both increase local awareness of the events and make more efficient use of time and resources. The weekend will be as challenging as the name is long.

“We’re hoping that by combining these events, we’ll bring in more local participants,” said Dana Jessen Rogers, head coach of the Vashon Athletic Club’s Stingray Swim team and Vashon’s  XTERRA volunteer organizer and promoter for the last several years. “People on the island really didn’t seem to know about them before.”

Given that the weekend will include both off-road as well as road racing, the events should complement rather than conflict with each other, Rogers explained.

“Off-road racing athletes train differently than road racers. This weekend should really showcase what Vashon has to offer everyone,” she said.

Rogers and LuAnn Branch, a triathlete coach and past volunteer for HOTS, have been working to put this triathlon tour-de-force together since late last fall.

“We just realized that after about a decade of hosting these events separately, it made sense to pool our resources. The volunteer base for both is pretty much the same,” Rogers said, “so it solved a few problems. We’re not going to be saturating weekends all summer now.”

As for the location, Rogers believes that many on the island don’t realize what’s available to them for athletic endeavors and hopes that the weekend will change that.

“When I first started working on the XTERRA, I didn’t even know the Dockton trail existed. It’s a King County park, so they (the county) groom it for the event — but that also benefits everyone else who uses the trails, not just the racers on event day.”

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