After a second straight sellout in Huntsville, Ont., we chat with Ironman 70.3 Muskoka race director Nick Stoehr about the race and its new (tougher) run course.
Triathlon Canada Magazine: Thanks for taking the time to chat with us today.
Nick Stoehr: Thank you for having me.
TCM: How long have you been Muskoka 70.3’s race director?
NS: I’ve worked at the event since 2008, and have been the race director since 2011. This is the 12th year of the current 70.3 series, prior to that we had the Muskoka Long Course and Muskoka Chase formats.
TCM: The bike course used to be a 94K single loop of the Lake of Bays when the race was based out of the Deerhurst resort. This is now the third year of the race being based in downtown Huntsville, and the current out to Dorset and back bike course. Why has this new bike route been so successful for the race?
NS: This new route has been very well received by our athletes, probably because of the smoother roads. We are lucky because the surfaces have all been paved within the last three to five years. This route change allowed us to keep the smoother sections of the old course (Brunel Road), and has removed some of the rougher sections. The new course doesn’t have some of the sharp, steep climbs we had on the old course, which we think the athletes appreciate.
TCM: Tell us about how the all-new course came about this year.
NS: Recently we’ve looked at eliminating the Hwy 60 route to try to give the athletes a more “Muskoka” feel during the run portion. We sat down with local officials to produce a more athlete-friendly experience away from a highway as much as possible. We also wanted to include more spectator-friendly locations like Main St. in downtown Huntsville. We would prefer not to have a hilly course but it’s the nature of the beast in Muskoka and the best we could do. Local road construction also played a part in the decision. Athletes this year have responded with positive feedback so that’s great to hear.
TCM: What are your plans for next year’s run course?
NS: We are anticipating a few tweaks here and there, but overall the athlete feedback has been quite positive so expect more of the same moving forward.
TCM: This is now the second straight sellout for Muskoka 70.3, what do you attribute the recent race popularity to?
NS: I think that since its now our third year in downtown Huntsville, we’ve been able to utilize the hospitality of the local community to create a positive experience for both the athletes and their families on race weekend. The Canada Summit Centre has been essential to our success in the community. Other little changes like tweaking the bike course and creating a more spectator and family-friendly run course have probably contributed towards our registration sell out as well. We were also fortunate to have great weather during the race this past weekend, which definitely helps in creating an excellent athlete race experience.
TCM: What’s up next for you?
NS: We at Trisport Events Inc. produce the Subaru Triathlon Series, next up we have the Niagara Triathlon in Grimsby on July 28th, and the Subaru Iron Girl Triathlon on August 11th in Grimsby, Ont. The Iron Girl tri this year sold out in only five days so we are very excited to see the strong interest for women’s specific triathlons.
TCM: And how about Muskoka 70.3 for next year?
NS: Next years race will be July 12th 2020 and registration should open in October.