‘City on the Lakes’ triathlon proposed for August
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Looking to support local athletes after the loss of the Timberman Triathlon, a city committee gave tentative approval Wednesday to a proposal to hold a new event Aug. 12-13, with a swimming portion in Lake Opechee and running and bicycling segments in and around Laconia.
Jan Buitendag, the chief executive officer of Tritanium Sports of Gilford, said his plan has the potential for attracting hundreds of participants and boosting the local economy, while filling a void left by the departure of the annual Timberman Triathlon.
“I just feel it would be such a big loss not to go ahead with another triathlon in our area because of the impact it had not only on the athletes but also on the community and the economy of the area,” he told the city's Special Events Committee.
He is calling it the “City on the Lakes Triathlon.”
The City Council will now consider the matter.
Buitendag has organized dozens of athletic events. Ironman Corp., which owns the Timberman Triathlon, decided to replace it this year with an event at Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
"The Timberman was a tradition in this part of the world and it had a huge impact on the local economy,” Buitendag said.
He said it would be good to have a locally run event at a time when many marathons are now run by big companies.
“We would like to go back to the roots of the thing, triathlons presented by locals, supported by the locals for ultra-athletes,” Buitendag said.
The first day of competition would be an event featuring a 400-yard swim, a 16-mile bicycle race and a 3.1-mile run. The second day would have a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bicycle race and a 13.1-mile run. Charge for participation will be about $250.
Runners would race on roads around Lake Opechee, the same route used by the Runaway Pumpkin 10K race. The bicycling portion would be an out-and-back along New Hampshire Routes 106 and 104 from Laconia to Bristol.
Laconia Fire Chief Ken Erickson said the triathlon has traditionally been a boon to local businesses.
“This is a big event,” he said. “This particular weekend in August, the hotels around here are filled up and so are all the restaurants. These runners eat a lot of food before they start running.”
Part of the planning to be done before such events involves emergency medical response.
Erickson said sometimes runners get severely dehydrated and need intravenous fluids.
“The standing orders are that if we have to give them one IV, they are fine,” he said. “If we have to give them two IVs, they have to be transported to the hospital.”
Buitendag, 70, said he has run in more than 100 marathons, and many other ultra-athletic events.
He has frequently competed in the New York City Marathon, and takes inspiration from one particular person he saw compete in that race.
“One year, there was an athlete and it took him four days to complete the marathon,” Buitendag said. “You know why? He had no legs. He did it on his hands. If that man can do it, that's an example for us all.”