GODFREY — Local athletes will face a new challenge later this month.
Godfrey Parks and Recreation will hold the Great Godfrey Triathlon Sunday, Aug. 30, at the Alton-Wood River Sportsmen’s Club, 3109 Godfrey Road.
Metro Tri Club member Emily Johnson is helping organize the event. Johnson, a longtime runner, joined the Metro Tri Club after her law partner asked her to participate in a relay race.
“My partner had knee problems and asked me to do a relay,” she says. “I just did the run and liked it a lot.”
She has been doing triathlons ever since. There aren’t too many such events in the area.
“Most people who want to do them have to travel,” she says.
The Wood River Triathlon is one of the most popular local races. Now in its third decade, the race averages approximately 400 participants.
“We wished we had more triathlons in the area, and we thought the Sportsmen’s Club would be a nice location,” Johnson says. “The lake isn’t big enough for an Ironman but it would be good for a sprint triathlon, which isn’t as long.”
The race will begin with a 500-meter swim in the lake. Participants will swim to a halfway marker, turn around and swim back. Volunteers and lifeguards will watch athletes in case of emergencies.
After the 500-meter swim, the participants will leave the water and get on their bicycles for a 16-mile ride. The racers will ride from the Sportsmen’s Club along Godfrey Road. To ensure participants’ safety, part of the road will be closed to vehicles.
“The bike portion is on the road, so Madison County will shut down a portion of the road,” Johnson says.
Once the racers reach Winter Lane, they’ll follow it to Pierce Lane and make their way back to the club. Volunteers and police officers will monitor racers and help keep the roads clear.
After the bike ride, participants will arrive at the club for the final portion of the triathlon, a 5-kilometer cross country-style run.
Because this is the first year, Johnson says she hopes there’s a good turnout.
“We hope to get between 75 to 100 people,” she says. “Since it’s the first year, people can be hesitant and want to hear from others about it.”
The goal is to make the triathlon an annual event and hopefully reach numbers like the Wood River Triathlon.
“If this year goes well, I think it will slowly build up,” Emily says.
The triathlon will start at 7 a.m. Participants can sign up by contacting the Godfrey Parks and Recreation department at (618) 466-1483 or at www.godfreyil.org. Participants also can arrive early Sunday morning and sign up to participate in the triathlon before it starts. Participants must be 18 or older to sign up. The triathlon has a sign-up fee of $50, which includes a free T-shirt and lunch for all racers.