Give it a Tri!

South Charlotte’s own sprint triathlon is back for the fourth summer in a row, and this time will be bigger and better than ever, organizers say.

“It’s our fourth annual event and it’s totally different,” Crystal Trawick, Tri! Ballantyne co-organizer, said. “We’re making it a full-day family event.”

The fourth annual Tri! Ballantyne event, sponsored by the Morrison Family YMCA, will take place July 13, a Saturday. This year’s event will feature the same classic competitions as years past with an adult competition, relay competition and Kids’ Tri! Ballantyne race – which this year will be held on Saturday afternoon rather than the usual Friday evening.

To make the event an all-day, family-friendly affair, organizers have added an additional portion to the event. Called Tri! Fest, the event will feature live band Phase 2, food vendors, games and an open pool and waterpark from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. leading up to the Kid’s Tri! Ballantyne event.

“One of the things we noticed is that there are a lot of spectators because it is so accessible. We wanted to embrace that and make it comfortable for them,” Lisa Johnson, Tri! Ballantyne co-organizer, said.

The Tri! Ballantyne race starts with a 300-yard swim in the Morrison Family YMCA’s outdoor pool. From there, participants bike on the 12.7-mile course through south Charlotte and Union County before looping through Ballantyne neighborhoods on foot for a 5K run that finishes back at the YMCA. For the kids’ event, which kicks off at 2 p.m., participants ages 6 to 8 swim 50 yards, bike three-fourths of a mile and run three-fourths of a mile.

Participants ages 9 to 11 swim 100 yards, bike three-fourths of a mile and run three-fourths of a mile. Participants ages 12 to 14 swim 150 yards, bike three-fourths of a mile and run one mile.

Last year’s event had nearly 475 adult competitors with about 160 kids. This year, both Trawick and Johnson said they expect numbers to go up. As of Monday, July 1, the Kids Tri! event was 20 spots from being sold out at 200 participants and around 140 spots remained in the adult event. Organizers hope to see 500 adults participate.

Waxhaw resident and Morrison Family YMCA member Jeff Martin is competing in the event for a second time, this year along with both of his daughters – Emily, 15, and Erin, 10. Martin and Emily started participating in triathlons about two years ago after deciding to add swimming to their running and biking regimen. They’ve since participated in four or five sprint triathlon events, Martin said.

“Erin and I participated last year in the event and had a really good time,” Martin said, adding his daughter Emily was unable to compete last year after being injured during training. “It’s a very well-organized, fun event for the family, so we decided to do it again this year.”

Martin said he’s happy for the event’s schedule change. Last year, his entire family came out to support his daughter Erin on Friday night and then again Saturday morning for his own race. He says the addition of Tri! Fest will make the day even more enjoyable.

The entire Morrison Family YMCA facility will be closed July 13 for the event. Registration for Tri! Ballantyne and the Kids’ Tri! Ballantyne is available online. Costs vary according to the event and date of registration, and all proceeds will benefit the branch’s Community Support Campaign, which raises funds to support much-needed programs in the community. Visit www.ymcacharlotte.org and follow the link for the Morrison Family YMCA for more information.

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