DES MOINES, Iowa – The recent heavy rain means big changes for the Hy-Vee Triathlon.
Race organizers just announced the age group and 5150 Championship races will be reduced to a “sprint triathlon” which is just half the distance participants planned to race.
The start time for those races has also been changed to 8:30 a.m.
For the 5150 Elite race, athletes will start as scheduled and they’ll race the full, Olympic distance as planned, but race organizers have changed the bike course for the elite athletes to a lap course.
The kids triathlon bike course has also been changed to a lap course but it will begin as scheduled, at 8:00 a.m. Saturday.
Hy-Vee says the changes are necessary to protect the safety of the athletes.
This isn’t the first time flooding has created problems for the triathlon. Hy-Vee had to move, modify, and cancel portions of the triathlon in 2008 and 2010.
Below is the release from triathlon officials:
Hy-Vee and its event management firm, Premier Event Management, worked with Des Moines city officials Friday to evaluate flooding around Gray’s Lake Park, 2100 Fleur Drive, to determine what course changes were needed to ensure the safety of the Hy-Vee Triathlon’s nearly 2,000 registered participants.
Flooding was contained to Water Works Park as of Friday afternoon, and it was determined that the bike portion of the races would need to be rerouted. In addition, the Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship and the Hy-Vee Age Group Triathlon will be changed from an Olympic distance to a sprint distance competition.
Premier Event Management staff briefed athletes about the changes Friday during registration packet pickup at Hy-Vee Hall.
“We can’t control the weather that Mother Nature gives us, but fortunately we’re accustomed to knowing how to react. The safety of our athletes, their families and the community members who come out to watch is most important,” said Bill Burke, race director for Premier Event Management. “The flooding was mostly contained to one area and will only reroute the bike portion of the events. And even with these changes, we’re able to provide all our athletes a top-notch triathlon experience as we have in years past.”
On Saturday, the Hy-Vee Kids Triathlon Championship will begin as scheduled at 8 a.m., but the bike portion will now be a lap course on Fleur Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
On Sunday, the Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship Elite Cup athletes will begin as scheduled and athletes will still bike an Olympic distance of 40 kilometers. However, the route will now consist of a four-lap course on Fleur Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. The Elite athletes’ swim and run distances will remain unchanged.
The Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 U.S. Championship and the Hy-Vee Age Group Triathlon will compete on the same bike course only at half the distance, 20 kilometers. The swim and run portions also have been condensed to a sprint distance of a 750 meter swim and 5 kilometer run. Both of these competitions will have a delayed start of approximately 8:30 a.m. (times are subject to change). Transition will close at 6:45 a.m., and athletes must be on-site before it closes.