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Introducing the Niagara Falls Barrelman

The Niagara Barrelman will use the same swim course as the Welland Triathlon (above)
The Niagara Barrelman will use the same swim course as the Welland Triathlon (above)

The honeymoon capital of the world will host the much anticipated Niagara Falls Barrelman on Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014. MultiSport Canada is known for delivering family friendly events. In addition to spectacular views, Niagara Falls, Ont. is brimming with tourist attractions for all ages. Wine lovers will appreciate that the race date coincides with the Niagara Wine Festival.Starting in Welland, Ont., the race takes advantage of the spectator-friendly and protected waters of the Welland Recreational Waterway. The bike course is flat and fast, and the run course features two climbs and two descents that provide a spectacular panoramic view of both the American and Canadian falls. Athletes will also run past the falls twice – no other race offers this opportunity. Post-race, athletes can meet up with their families and support- ers at Kingsbridge Park and will only have to walk 800 m to their vehicles to make their way home or back to their hotels.

Athletes can participate in the individual triathlon (2 km swim, 90 km bike, 21.1 km run), triathlon relay (2 km swim, 90 km bike, 21.1 km run), individual swim/bike (2 km swim, 90 km bike), individual bike/run (90 km bike, 21.1 km run), individual duath- lon (5 km run, 90 km bike, 21.1 km run), or duathlon relay (5 km run, 90 km bike, 21.1 km run).Triathlon Magazine Canada spoke with John Salt, president of MultiSport Canada, to get the full rundown for this inaugural event.TMC: Can you explain the name change and how you came up with the new one?

John Salt: We were advised by an outside party that for legal reasons we would have  to change the name of the race and remove all references to the word “iron.” I decided we should make this unforeseen situation into an opportunity and so we came up with a “Name the Race” contest. The winning entry received a free race entry and two nights accom- modations. The contest lasted two weeks and we had over 200 name suggestions. In the end we chose the Niagara Falls Barrelman.

TMC: Why Barrelman?
JS: The connotations of the “barrel over the falls” and the Niagara wine growing region are obvious. It also meant we could have some fun with things such as clothing and finishers’ medals. In fact we expect that the finishers’ medal will be in the shape of a barrel, maybe with an athlete peeking out from the inside.TMC: This has been a pet project of yours for over three years, what made you decide to base the race out of Niagara Falls and Welland? Were other locations being considered?
JS: Even with all of the great locations in Ontario finding 90 to 180 km of road for a bike is very hard. The idea for Niagara Falls actually came about during a conversation with the former mayor of Welland. The mayor asked if we would ever consider a point-to-point race and suggested we incorporate Niagara Falls into the Welland race, given that the falls are only 20 minutes away. Once we drove from Welland and saw the potential for a visually stunning backdrop, we knew we had to develop this race.TMC: What features will create lasting memories for the athletes?
JS: We think that the beauty of the whole course, not just the section past the falls, will be something that athletes will take away from the race. We also know that there will be a few sections that will chal- lenge our athletes. The course will have a good deal of variety, from quiet sections through the Dufferin Islands and along Portage Road early on in each loop, to the energy of running down Murray Hill with the falls in sight.Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 1.35.24 PMTMC: The inaugural race will also play host to the Ontario Provincial Long Course Championships. How will that impact that race? Do you expect a more competitive field?
JS: We already know some of the pro members of the Recharge With Milk Triathlon Series Ambassador Team will be racing and you can expect to see Lionel Sanders (winner of the 2013 Ironman 70.3 Muskoka), Cody Beals, Alexander VanderLinden, Mikael Staer Nathan, Angela Quick and Kristen Marchant. Given that the race will be the Ontario Provincial Long Course Championships, we hope to see a good number of the top age group athletes. We will have $5,000 in prize money that will be awarded to the top five males and females, whether they race as pro or age group.TMC: What is your capacity for this race and how is registration going so far? JS: While we believe this race could handle 2,000 athletes, we have capped the race at 1,000 for the first year. We want to honour the MultiSport Canada philosophy of producing athlete-centred friendly races that are safe. No matter how well you design a race course you can never be 100 per cent sure of the capacity until you have seen it under race conditions so the cap is half of what we believe it can handle.

Get more race details or register for the race at niagarafallstriathlon.comTMC