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Marble Falls Triathlon Hits the Streets, Lake July 16

The annual Marble Falls Triathlon is July 16. File photo

MARBLE FALLS — Even after 17 years, Mario Gonzales admitted he thinks about the Marble Falls Triathlon, which he created, every day.

“It’s hard to put it out of my mind for six months,” he said, “but come January and February, I’m organizing and preparing.”

That’s good considering the city will host about 250 triathletes on Sunday, July 16, who will compete in either a shorter sprint course or the longer main course beginning at 7 a.m. The event consists of swimming, cycling, and running. People can compete individually or as a team.

The triathlon starts and finishes at Lakeside Park, 307 Buena Vista Drive. The park also serves as the events transition area, where athletes move from one portion of the race to another.

The sprint consists of a 500-meter swim, a 12-mile bike ride, and a 2-mile run, while the main course is a 1-kilometer swim, a 23-mile bike, and a 4.4-mile run.

The cost to compete is $95 for the sprint and $105 for the main. Athletes can register at marblefallstri.com through 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, and from noon-5 p.m. Saturday, July 15, at the Holiday Inn Express, 714 Corazon Drive in Marble Falls.

The swim portion of the triathlon takes place in Lake Marble Falls with the bike portion on U.S. 281 South and Texas 71 West before returning to Lakeside Park. Then, the athletes course down Yett Street and Avenue J and through Pecan Valley for the running portion.

Gonzales said what has changed the most in the past decade is the number of triathlons offered in the state. He compared triathletes to golfers. Both types of athletes simply want to try different courses and don’t mind planning trips across great distances to experience them.

“But we still have our loyal 150 or 200 who love this race,” he said. “They come back every year because they love it here.”

Gonzales re-examined the race about five years ago to see how it could be better, which resulted in the shorter sprint course. The sprint distance is a good starting length for someone who wants to try a triathlon for the first time.

“(Some athletes) felt like they weren’t trained to do the bigger race,” Gonzales said. “(The sprint has) drawn in several beginners. That’s what spawns the future. The next year, I see them, and they’re doing a longer race.”

Volunteers are always needed, beginning at 6 a.m. and usually finishing around 11 a.m. Gonzales noted volunteers don’t have to have experience in working triathlons. They just need to be willing to do simple tasks such as handing out water. Those who have kayaks are welcome to assist with the swim leg of the event.

Spectators are always welcome. One of the best places to watch is at the transition area in Johnson Park. Organizers would also ask motorists to be alert for cyclists on U.S. 281 South and Texas 71 West during the event, though most should be off the course by 11 a.m.

Go to marblefallstri.com to volunteer or for more information.

jfierro@thepicayune.com

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