Frank Dunn Triathlon makes triumphant return to Waskesiu

More than 100 competitors biked, swam and ran their way to glory as the 2021 Frank Dunn Triathlon officially returned to Waskesiu on Sunday.

Organizers cancelled the annual event last summer due to COVID-19, but competitors returned to the pristine confines of Prince Albert National Park in 2021 eager and ready to go.

“It was great to have a sporting event again up at Waskesiu, because it’s such a beautiful venue, and people were excited to be able to participate again,” race organizer Mark Nagy said. “It was just a nice feeling to have a sport back in our province.”

Warman’s Wyatt Kuntz finished with the top type in all classes, crossing the finish line in 2:48:56. James Lozenzen of Wadena finished second with a time of 2:53:13, while Calgary’s Charles Miron came third.

Prince Albert’s Christina Charles finished with the best time among female competitors, coming in at 3:05:28. Saskatoon’s Abby Miller finished second with a time of 3:10:47, while Calgary’s Beth Ordman came third.

It total, 126 individuals and 36 teams competed.

“It was a nice start for bringing back racing,” Nagy said. “It wasn’t too many. It was just enough to make it worthwhile.”

Triathlete Leah Laxdal of Saskatoon gets a cold shower from a race volunteer while competing in the 2021 Frank Dunn Triathlon at Waskesiu on Sunday, Aug. 15. — Photo by Bob Holtsman Photography.

The Frank Dunn event was the second triathlon to be held in Saskatchewan since the government lifted public health restrictions on July 11. However, Nagy said Waskesiu race was much larger than the other event, which was held back in mid-July.

That created a few logistical problems for organizers, who did their best to make sure everyone stayed safe.

“It was like a memory jolt,” Nagy explained. “You have to remember what you used to do all the time.”

Not all activities made the cut, and some potential changes had to be put off for another year.

This biggest involved the triathlon bike route. Organizers urged competitors to proceed with extreme caution due to bad road conditions in an update posted to the organization’s website before the race. The National Park has filled in the worst of the cracks, but organizers say some areas still need to be upgraded, particularly around the Kapasiwin turn-in.

The other big change involved cancelling the swimming portion of the Youth swin and run, which Nagy said was too unpredictable to host in 2021.

“I just wasn’t sure if having kids together in the water was a good thing,” he explained. “I know 99 per cent of the people who participate in the triathlon are vaccinated and healthy, but you don’t know what’s going on with kids. There’s no vaccine for kids under the age of 12, and I just didn’t know if it would be the proper thing to do.”

Instead, organizers created a simplified kids run to take its place. Nagy said they plan or returning to the regular youth event in 2022.

Organizers also cancelled the annual pancake breakfast. Nagy said the park hasn’t had a pancake breakfast since it opened for the year, and organizers didn’t think now was a good time to start.

Nagy added that the event couldn’t have gone ahead without a loyal group of volunteers who made everything happen.

“We get really good volunteers every year. We’ve got a good group, a base group, and we seem to pick up a few new people every once and a while, who keep coming back every year, so we treat them pretty good.”

For full results from the 2021 Frank Dunn Triathlon, visit www.resultscanada.com

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