Event and Race Reviews
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St. Albert Triathlon
(St. Albert, Alberta)
Distance: Sprint (750m swim, 20K bike, 5K run) or Try-a-Tri (250m swim, 10k bike, 2.5k run.) Sprint includes a team option.
Time of Year: Annually in August
2006 was my second year doing this race, and my third sprint distance triathlon.
Like the St. Albert 10-miler, this race is put on by the St. Albert Road Runners and Triathlon Club. This is my club, and so one of the perks is that I know a lot of the organizers and other volunteers, making it a fun way to spend a morning.
Start Line/Registration: The race starts and finishes at Fountain Park Recreation Centre in St. Albert. There is lots of parking at the pool and the high school next door. The centre is open to participants, so there are plenty of bathrooms and shower facilities. Chips are picked up the morning of the race, and I didn’t see anyone waiting too long (there were 10 people in front of me and I had my chip in less than 3 minutes.) Body markers were quick (a plug for my mom and sister, who were volunteering there) Smile and there were no bibs to worry about.
Facilities/Course: The competition pool is 25 metres, and is salt water, which some prefer to chlorine (me included.) There are 3 swimmers per heat, and they start those with the slowest projected times first. As soon as a lane empties, they shuttle another group in, so things move swiftly. They wand you as you go by to record your chip. The transition area is in the north parking lot directly outside of the pool, so is easy to access.
The bike course is out and back, and is rolling hills, with the exception of one nasty one that is nice heading out, but is 1 kilometre of nasty at the 17K mark of the sprint. The course is technically open to traffic, but it is generally light and the intersections and turnaround are well marshaled. The area that is on the highway has wide shoulders.
The run is around the perimeter of the Forest Lawn neighbourhood. There is a water station just after you exit transition, and again at about the halfway mark of the sprint. It is mostly flat, with the exception of a negligible hill at the 3.5k mark. The finish is on the asphalt trail leading to the back of the rec centre. This is a slight downhill, but unfortunately due to the winding of the trail, you can see the finish for awhile before you reach it.
Finish Line: The race director is at the finish line announcing the arrival of the runners. Volunteers take your chip and are there to hand you water. Food is inside the rec. centre, and there is always plenty, including ice cream from Dairy Queen, plenty of fruit, bagels and cookies.
Organization/Volunteers: Apparently, with it being a long weekend, they had problems getting volunteers this year, but it wasn’t evident. There were no gaps from what I could tell, although I did help with body marking for a few minutes when it got busy. Race packages were available on site, or for the two days prior at one of the local shops.
Extras: The race shirt is technical. This year they fit a little big, but are good quality. The race packages include lots of goodies: Clif bar, flax seed samples, Welch’s fruit treats, pen or pencil, and some contained perfume or other samples, along with some coupons. Draw prizes were plentiful, and they had some great ones. I won a pair of Brooks running shoes, and I almost never win anything! What I love about this race, too, is that they give away the best draw prize, a mountain bike, to one of the volunteers.