Competitors in the traditional Fort McPherson Canada Day triathlon paddle their way the Peel River in the third leg of the race. Organizers didn’t have to make many alterations to the triathlon format to be able to comply with physical distancing rules.
(photo courtesy Sierra Daley)

Antsy athletes in Fort McPherson didn’t let Covid-19 restrictions put a damper on their time-honoured Canada Day triathlon, with three teams of four completing the three-leg relay.

Volunteer organizer Sierra Daley said the nature of triathlons made it the perfect social distancing sport.

“When people are watching, they’re usually watching from their trucks,” she said. “We only had three teams enter, and the runners started two meters apart. After that, no one was really neck-and-neck to be within two-metres.

“So we didn’t have to change anything to ensure it met the physical distancing requirements.”

Competing for a top prize of $1,600 in cash, donated by the Peel River Jamboree Committee, everyone walked away from the race with a decent payout, as second prize was $1,200 and third was $800.

Teams of four completed the race as a relay, with the first member running seven kilometres from the hamlet to just past the airport before tagging their teammate who biked eight kilometres to the Peel River boat launch. From there, the remaining two athletes paddled their way up river back to town.

“They’re padding against the current, so it’s a pretty strenuous paddle,” said Daley. “We had two volunteer safety boats on the water with the paddlers.”

With the trial run of running a triathlon a success, Daley said the community had its eyes on a second one around the September long weekend, though exact details are still being worked out.

“With all these covid-19 restrictions, maybe we’ll do something similar to that more often,” she said. “It’s kind of easy to do within the guidelines.”

Daley expressed her thanks to the Hamlet of Fort McPherson, GNWT, Peel River Jamboree committee and the Kiddie Carnival Committee for sponsoring the day’s events, as well as Leslie and Rebecca Blake and Shaylene and Cameron Blake for being the safety boats.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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