Elkhart Lake Triathlon celebrates 20th anniversary

The Elkhart Lake Triathlon, produced by Elkhart Lake MultiSports, Inc., turns 20 years old on Saturday, June 9. The Elkhart Lake Triathlon is sponsored by the Elkhart Lake Tourism Commission and The Osthoff Resort.

“We are thrilled to have an event that has endured and thrived for 20 years” said Jeff Grady, the race’s founder and director.

“When we started this race, I don’t think we considered how long it would last or how popular it would become.”

In fact, Grady notes that five participants have raced the previous 19 races and are expected to enter the 20th running of the event.

Over the years the Elkhart Lake Triathlon has had many memorable moments. Some of those were serving as host of USA Triathlon’s regional championship and special qualifier races. Regional championship and special qualifier events provide participants greater recognition and more slots to qualify for the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.

“Most of the memorable moments however, just come from our interactions with the athletes themselves,” recalled Grady.

Established in 1999, the Elkhart Lake Triathlon has become a mainstay on the Midwest triathlon circuit. The event – which includes an Olympic distance race, an Elite Olympic event that offers $2,600 in prize money and a shorter Sprint triathlon – typically draws about 800- 900 participants.

Grady notes, “The course is well established, the staff is very experienced and the race venue and surrounding area are very family friendly.”

The vision for the race came about after Grady and his wife, Mariann, purchased a condominium at The Osthoff Resort in 1997.

“I stood on our balcony overlooking the lake and said to my wife, ‘It’s so beautiful here, we really should put on an event.’ The rest, as they say, is history,”

With that, Grady began talking with his own running and triathlon training partners about putting on the race. This approach lead to Jeff’s initial motto of a “Triathlon for Athletes, Put On By Athletes.” The initial planning with the Village of Elkhart Lake, The Osthoff Resort and local communities occurred over the next year.

“We have been fortunate to have developed great, long lasting relationships with very willing partners,” explained Grady.

“Coordinating and staffing the event is a complex endeavor.”

Grady draws on the support of the Village of Elkhart Lake, Town of Rhine, Town of Russell, Town of New Holstein, Sheboygan County Highway Department, Calumet County Sheriff’s Department, and the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department which the event’s race courses pass through.

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