35th annual Morden Triathlon goes global

The 35th annual Morden Triathlon will function as a qualifier for the 2020 World Triathlon Multisport Championships in Almere, Netherlands. Below, participants in the Kids of Steel at the 2017 Triathlon. (RAY PENNER)

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Morden Triathlon is back for its 35th year, and the 2019 event will be bigger than ever before.

The Triathlon didn’t go forward last year to the disappointment of athletes around the region, but this year it has returned with a new global twist.

The 2019 Morden Triathlon will act as a qualifier for the 2020 International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Triathlon Multisport Championships in Almere, Netherlands.

“It’s pretty exciting,” event co-chair Heather Francis said. “It’s especially exciting since this will be our first ever Cross Triathlon that we’re doing.”

Triathlon Manitoba has a certain amount of spots available for Manitoban triathlons for the season. “Since the Morden triathlon is going to be offering the most multisport disciplines of any race in the province, we’re going to have the only Cross Triathlon, that’s why we and Triathlon Manitoba thought it would be a good choice for the World Qualifying spots,” Francis said.

Francis said the event will bring in more athletes from farther away to compete. “We’ve already had some athletes from other provinces inquiring about the specifics about the World qualifying spots and trying to make arrangements to come,” she said.

The Morden Triathlon will be offering two new events this year: Cross Triathlon and Aquabike. Cross Triathlon features swimming, biking and running like a regular triathlon, but the biking portion is a mountain bike ride and the running section is a trail run instead of a paved road run.

“The swim is the same,” Francis said. “The other elements shake it up a bit and appeal to different athletes who enjoy other types of biking and running a bit more.”

Aquabike only features the swimming and biking portions of a regular triathlon.

The Triathlon will still be offering its usual roster of races, including Sprint and Olympic Triathlon and Duathlon, Try-a-Tri and Try-a-Du, Kids of Steel and will be offering Try-an-Aquabike as well.

Francis said over the years athletes have looked forward to coming to the Morden Triathlon. “I know there were a lot of sad people around when the race didn’t happen last year,” she said. “We’ve had good response in the past and our Kids of Steel was growing every year.”

Francis said the Try-a-Tri event where participants can give triathlons a try in a less competitive atmosphere have been embraced by people who come out.

“We’ve had a lot of great momentum,” she said. “Unfortunately last year the volunteers just weren’t there to put the race on, but we hope to keep building on the momentum that was started and make it even bigger and better this year.”

The 35th Morden Triathlon takes place July 13-14. Registration will begin in March. For more information on the event, volunteering or to become a sponsor visit www.mordentriathlon.com.