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Triathletes Take to the Water, Roads This Weekend

The county will be inundated with amazing athletes July 15-16 for the Door County Triathlon, which encompasses three events for nearly 1,800 athletes, ages 6-80, all starting and finishing at Frank Murphy County Park in Egg Harbor.

The action starts with the sprint triathlon Saturday at 8 am. The sprint features a quarter-mile swim from the Murphy Park pier toward the boat launch and back, an 18-mile bike ride from Murphy Park to George Penny Park and back on Bay Shore Drive, and a 3.1-mile run north from Murphy Park along the shoreline. The event – sold out to its 1,000-participant capacity – takes most athletes a little under two hours, according to race organizer Sean Ryan. 

Then Saturday at 2 pm, hundreds of brave young athletes, ages 6-13, will take to the course for the kids’ triathlon, which features four courses for age-specific distances, each with swimming, biking and running segments. Ryan said there are about 250 kids signed up, but organizers anticipated hosting more than 300 after last-minute and day-of-event registrations are tallied.

On Sunday, the big dogs hit the water starting at 8 am for the Half Iron triathlon. That’s a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride on a double-loop course south of Murphy Park and north of Sturgeon Bay, and a 13.1-mile run. The race goes through the Village of Egg Harbor along Highway 42 before turning up Bluff Pass Road.

Door County Triathlon finishers. Submitted.

“It’s a brutally steep switchback road tucked in the woods with, like, a 20% grade,” Ryan said. “So it’s a very tough run there at mile nine. When they get to the top at mile 10, they still have to go another 3.1 miles.” 

Winners typically take more than four hours, Ryan said, but some racers don’t finish until the early evening. Both the Half Iron and sprint races have relays joining solo runners. 

Ryan said the Half Iron is not sold out – down 20% from last year with 400 racers signed up. He said the lower sign-up for the Half Iron compared to the sprint – which Ryan said sold out faster than last year – is a result of diminished interest in longer races recently. 

“It’s still gratifying to see that we’re one of the larger Half Iron events in the country, but the reality is that people aren’t doing long course events. That event used to sell out to 1,000 in one day,” he said. 

Still, the triathlon is a major tourism event for Door County, according to Ryan. Because only about 10% of participants have Door County addresses, that means 90% need to find lodging. 

“In terms of impact to lodging, to resorts, hotels and campsites, we typically generate around 2,000 lodging nights with this event each year,” he said. “Especially because a lot of participants will stay at least two – if not three, four or five – nights and wrap a vacation around event weekend.”

The event is staffed by volunteers, and Ryan said the organizers are always looking for more. Find details about volunteering at doorcountytriathlon.com/volunteer.

Those who are not participating should anticipate some traffic impacts in Sturgeon Bay in the morning, then in Egg Harbor primarily around midday through mid-afternoon.

Racers embark on the Half Iron’s 1.2-mile swim: the first leg of the triathlon. Submitted.

Door County Triathlon By the Numbers

6:29:25

The average finishing time (in hours, minutes and seconds) for women in the Door County Half Iron Triathlon

4:45:08

The first-place finishing time for 2022 women’s winner Jess Barrett

6:05:21

The average finishing time for men in the Door County Half Iron Triathlon

4:04:02

The first-place finishing time for 2022 winner Alfredo Ramirez Pinho

1.2 miles/56 miles/13.1 miles

The distances, respectively, of the swim, bike and run portions of the Half Iron Triathlon

1:52:21

The average finishing time for women in the Door County Sprint Triathlon

1:17:32

The finishing time for 2022 women’s sprint triathlon winner Sue Pierson

1:43:38

The average finishing time for men in the Door County Sprint Triathlon

1:10:43

The finishing time for 2022 sprint triathlon winner Quinton Kneeland

.25 mile/18 miles/3.1 miles

The distances, respectively, of the swim, bike and run portions of the sprint triathlon

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