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Canadian Race: Get Steamed at the Gravenhurst Triathlon

The Gravenhurst Triathlon has become one of Ontario's must-do races.

Entering its seventh year, the Gravenhurst Triathlon has become one of Ontario’s must-do races. It is perennially sold out thanks to the appeal and nuances of its historic Muskoka waterfront location. The race began at cozy Gull Lake in 2004 thanks to the request of a local triathlete, Steve Vandermolen, to bring a race to Gravenhurst.

The Olympic and Sprint distance triathlon events are highlighted by the unique steamship start, where racers are treated to a ride to the start of the “L” shaped 1,500m course (a straight in swim for the Sprint) aboard one of the historic Muskoka steamships – Royal Mail Ship Seguin (1887), or the Wenonah II (2002). This distinctive experience means that entries are capped at 300 athletes due to the carrying capacity of the steamships.

“Being innovative and making sure our customers have fun is always key for MultiSport Canada,” said John Salt, founder, president and director of the MultiSport Canada Triathlon Series. “The steamship start in Gravenhurst restricts the number of entries we can sell, but the customers love it and that is why we continue to start the race this way.”

Once onto the bike, racers will experience a gentle climb out of town, and a challenging course with a mix of flat, steady grades and short rollers. These inclines take a little bite out of your average speed, but a speedy overall bike split is quite possible. The run has a number of rolling hills on the quiet outskirts of town, nothing too difficult but, if you are vying for age group awards, this is where you can create some distance between you and your chasers.

The weekend’s (July 17 and 18) events include the Olympic distance triathlon and international-length duathlon on Saturday. Sunday features a Give It a Tri and a sprint triathlon and duathlon. The international duathlon will also serve as the Ontario Provincial Duathlon Championship.

Pre- or post-race you can enjoy the beauty, stores, attractions and boardwalk of the Muskoka Wharf, an 89 acre, $170 million complex that celebrates the history of the area including the Muskoka Boat & Heritage Centre. If you arrive in the Gravenhurst early you can also visit the Farmers Market on Wednesday.

Strong local support from businesses and volunteers are also a hallmark of the event. There are many options for accommodations and there is plenty of free parking at the Wharf. To register or to find more information visit www.msctriathlon.com

Course Records:

Olympic Triathlon (1,500 m swim, 40 km bike, 10 km run):

  • Buddy Green (Sudbury, ON)  2:08:55  M20-24  2007
  • Paolina Allan (Aurora, ON)  2:16:13  WPRO  2006

International Duathlon (10 km run, 40 km bike, 5 km run):

  • Bruce Bird (Toronto, ON)  1:57:13  MPRO  2009
  • Nik Vogler (Calgary, AB)  2:12:48  W25-29  2009

Sprint Triathlon (750 m swim, 20 km bike, 5 km run):

  • Buddy Green (Sudbury, ON)  1:05:07  M20-24  2007
  • Judith Snider (Richmond Hill, ON)  1:07:42  W45-49  2007

Sprint Duathlon (5 km run, 20 km bike, 2.5 km run):

  • Karsten Madsen (Kitchener, ON)  1:00:13  MPRO  2009
  • Tracy Dekoning (Kitchener, ON)  1:13:48  W35-39  2007

Give It A Tri (400 m swim, 10 km bike, 2.5 km run):

  • Matt Druken (Hawkestone, ON)  38:04  MU20  2008
  • Robyn Mildren (Dundas, ON)  42:55  WU20  2008