By Anna Desmarteau
After a great turnout last year, athletes are eager for the 2023 Shawnee Mission Triathlon & Duathlon coming up on Sunday, July 9. With positive feedback on events that have been added within recent years, registration continues to increase for all ages.
“We were worried that the pandemic would decimate our numbers and we’d have to rebuild from scratch, but many people took on new hobbies during their down time in 2020 and a lot of those hobbies were fitness related. Those that were already active stayed active and those that weren’t too active, started moving.” Race Director Katy Renner said in late May. “When we were able to get back to ‘normal’ in 2021, we saw a huge increase in participants. Our numbers have held steady through 2022 and are looking promising for our 2023 event. We’re currently up 22% over the 2022 numbers as of today and are trending toward selling out by the end of June.” Renner said on May 24.
2023 is the 39th year of the Shawnee Mission Triathlon & Duathlon, making it the longest running event in the metro area. The event offers course options for athletes ranging in experience from first timer, to the seasoned veteran. The events are the Super Sprint Triathlon, Short Course Triathlon, Long Course Triathlon, Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon. The 2023 Shawnee Mission Triathlon and Duathlon is a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event. The triathlon portion of the event has again been designated by the USA Triathlon Paratriathlon Committee as Paratriathlon Friendly.
In 2022, the Team Cecilia Spirit of Multisport Award was started and is now taking nominations for 2023. The award strives to recognize an individual each year who illustrates the qualities of a triathlon athlete through acts of sportsmanship, leadership, and efforts to grow diversity and inclusivity within the multisport community.
Nominations for the 2023 award can be submitted until June 30 using the form available at JCPRD.com/1904/The-Team-Cecilia-Spirit-of-Multisport-Aw. From the applications received, the Shawnee Mission Triathlon & Duathlon Committee will select one annual winner and up to two honorable mentions. These winners will be recognized on July 9 at the Shawnee Mission Triathlon & Duathlon.
The Team Cecilia Spirit of Multisport Award is named after Cecilia Niemann who was a young triathlete from Overland Park with cerebral palsy. She participated in three Shawnee Mission triathlons between 2013 and 2019. Niemann passed away in late January 2022, just two weeks before her 18th birthday and this award was created on her behalf.
Since 2020, the Shawnee Mission Triathlon & Duathlon has partnered with Team Fidelis, an organization dedicated to preventing suicide among military service members, veterans, and families by raising awareness, providing a bridge of hope, and building camaraderie.
“They do some absolutely wonderful things within the community. The impact that physical activity has on one’s mental health is second to none.” Renner noted. “We’re excited to be partnering with them again and raising awareness around suicide prevention among service members, veterans, and their families.”
The Triathlon Olympic Course consists of a 1,500-meter swim, followed by a 27-mile bike, and a 6.2-mile run. For individuals, the cost is $127 until June 30, then increases to $132 per person through race day, if space is available. For teams, the cost is $170 until June 30, and then $180 through race day.
The Triathlon Long Course consists of a 1,000-meter swim, followed by an 18-mile bike, and a 4.5-mile run. For individuals, the cost is $112 until June 30, then increases to $122 per person through race day. For teams the cost is $150 until June 30, and $160 through race day.
The Triathlon Short Course consists of a 500-meter swim, followed by a 9-mile bike, and a 3.1-mile run. For individuals, the cost is $102 until June 30, then increases to $107 through race day. The team cost is $135 until June 30, and then $140 through race day.
The Triathlon Super Sprint Course consists of a 200-meter swim, followed by a 4.5-mile bike, and a 2.25-mile run. For individuals, the cost is $67 until June 30, and $72 through race day. For teams, the cost is $102 until June 30, and $112 through race day.
The Duathlon consists of a 3.1-mile run, followed by a 13.5-mile bike, and another 3.1-mile run. The cost through June 30 is $97 per individual or $135 per team, and then $107 per individual or $140 per team through race day.
This year a Club Challenge has been added to the event.
“Athletes that are part of a club or team will select it during registration and after the event, we tally up their club’s points. There will be one winning club that will take the title which also comes with a trophy.” Said Renner, who added that she believes this will appeal to younger athletes.
Each participant will receive a T-shirt and a finisher’s medal. Individual prizes will be awarded to the top three male, female, and team overall finishers in each of the courses. Individual awards will be presented to the top three athletes of each age division.
To register, go to runsignup.com/Race/KS/Lenexa/2021ShawneeMissionTriathlonandDuathlon. Online registrations will end at midnight on July 8. Entries will be limited to the first 750 entries. Shawnee Mission Park is located at 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee and as a result of this event, the park will not open for public use until noon on July 9.
With all the events that are held at the Shawnee Mission Triathlon & Duathlon, safety is the number one priority for athletes.
“We pride ourselves on safety at all our events. Regarding water safety, we work with the JCPRD Aquatics Team to fully staff the water with lifeguards as well as the city of Shawnee Fire Department and the city of Overland Park Police Department Dive Team. These teams are on site for the worst-case scenario, but provide us with a level of life safety coverage that is second to none,” Renner states.
“We’re offering a free clinic on June 21 at the Shawnee Mission Park Swim Beach with various local triathlon coaches,” Renner said. “We’ll cover all topics of the sport as well as specific details to our race.”
This opportunity is great for first-time triathlon athletes wanting to compete on July 9. To register for the free clinic, go to Time to TRI - Shawnee Mission Triathlon & Duathlon CLINIC.
“We’ve adjusted the run course this year to be looped rather than a full out and back course, which allows us as a race management team to keep tabs on them in an easier and more efficient way. Our bike course is fully closed to traffic, so cyclists don’t have to worry about encountering and vehicles while out on the course.” This ensues athletes are safe throughout any event they are apart of.
Even after 38 years, this event remains a great experience for participating athletes.
“This race has stood the test of time,” Renner said. “All sports have their highs and lows in terms of the number of participants, but this race is beloved by the community and has continued to sustain itself. The course is challenging but the support from other athletes and volunteers makes it a don’t miss experience!”