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Alberta’s aggressive re-opening plan sets stage for triathlon racing

One of Canada's longest-running half-distance races gets ready to celebrate 30th running in July

Photo by: Ken Anderson

You can hear the smile on Platinum Racing’s Tom Bamford’s face. Thanks to Alberta’s aggressive three-step opening plan it looks like he’ll be able to put on the 30th edition of one of Canada’s flagship half-distance races, the Great White North Triathlon, on July 4 with next-to-no COVID restrictions. That means we’re about a month away from possibly seeing a full-fledged triathlon event here in Canada.

Five days ago Alberta premier Jason Kenney announced the opening plan that will see “all restrictions lifted, including ban on indoor social gatherings” by the end of June. The opening plan is based on vaccination rates and hospitalization data.

Stage one of the plan begins today and is based on 50 per cent of Albertans 12 and over to vaccinated with a first dose and hospitalizations below 800. While physical and masking requirements will remain in effect, stage one will allow Albertans to enjoy outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people, including outdoor physical, performance and recreation activities of up to 10 distanced people of all ages. Patios will be open for up to four household members per table and retail stores are open at 15 per cent capacity.

Stage 2, which is expected to start on June 10, is dependent on 60 per cent of Albertans 12 and over being vaccinated and hospitalizations to be below 500. Outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed, indoor recreation centres and cinemas will be open to one-third capacity, gyms and fitness studios will be “open for solo and drop-in activities and indoor fitness classes with three-metre distancing, with restaurants allowing six people per table either indoors or outdoors. In this stage youth and adult sports “resume with no restrictions, indoors and outdoors,” while outdoor public gatherings like concerts and festivals allow for up to 150 people, with outdoor fixed seating grandstands allowing one third capacity.

Stage three comes once 70 per cent of Albertans 12 and over have received one dose of vaccination and is expected to start in “late June or early July,” according to the Alberta government. At this point “all restrictions (will be) lifted, including (the) ban on indoor social gatherings.”

That means that the Great White North event, scheduled for July 4 in Stony Plain, could be run with no COVID restrictions. As announced for the Ironman 70.3 Calgary event on Aug. 1, the race in Stony Plain will offer a “bike-run” option for those who feel they are behind on their swim training due to the lack of pool access for many across the country due to COVID-19 closures. This year the race will also add both a sprint and try-a-tri events to the half- and Olympic-distance races, and race-day also includes both a duathlon and aquabike races.

Bamford’s team has a backup plan ready to go that will include distancing and mask measures in case Alberta’s vision of reaching Stage three by early July doesn’t come to fruition, but based on the government’s plan, organizers are hopeful that racing will be able to go ahead without any restrictions for the 30th running of the race. Announcer Steve King will be on hand to welcome athletes across the line for the race.

Find out more about the race here.