Nathan Smith competes in the biking portion of last year’s TRI Allegan as part of “Team Drew.” (File photo)

TRI Allegan cancels, goes virtual for 2020

By: 
Jason Wesseldyk
The TRI Allegan triathlon has become a fixture at Littlejohn Lake Park since debuting in 2011, drawing participants from far and near on a Tuesday evening in mid-July.
This year was supposed to be the milestone for the sprint triathlon—which includes a 500-meter swim, a 14-mile bike and a 5k run—as it would have celebrated its 10th anniversary. But that celebration will have to wait another year.
Like so many other events scheduled for this summer, the TRI Allegan has been cancelled due to uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
TRI Allegan organizer Joe Cantwell announced the decision on the event’s Facebook page last month.
“Canceling the TRI this year was a tough decision,” he said. “But considering the CDC recommendations along with the state-mandated shelter requirements, we really had no choice. We could not have people registering for an event that we had no idea could even happen.”
The TRI Allegan, which also includes duathlon option (2-mile run, 14-mile bike and 5k run), helps raise money for the Allegan All-Sport Booster Club. The money is used to purchase such items as uniforms and equipment.
“The TRI and concessions are the two biggest things that help us fund things throughout the year,” Booster Club president Mindi Smith said. “Our teams are especially going to be affected with the lack of recourses as we have lost not only the TRI, but also our spring sports season, which in effect lost an entire concession season.
“We are currently brainstorming to come up with ways to recoup the money that was lost. We had been working on a Boosters Bash, but clearly that isn’t feasible during this time frame.”
One way of recouping some of the money is by holding a virtual version of the race.
“We are planning to hold TRI Allegan as a virtual event this year so people can be safe and complete the distance on their own anytime through the months of June and July,” Cantwell said. “We’re hoping that the virtual event will raise money to help offset not having the full event this summer.”
Details regarding the virtual event will be listed at triallegan.org or on the TRI Allegan Facebook page.
“Many past participants have contacted me and are disappointed that we have had to cancel this year’s event, but they have all been understanding,” Cantwell said.
And they are already looking forward to getting back to Littlejohn Lake Park next July.
“Everyone who has contacted me is looking forward to 2021,” Cantwell said. “We are planning to hold the event in mid-July as we have for the past nine years. 
“The Boosters and I hope everyone is staying healthy and we look forward to seeing everyone back to compete in 2021. We’re committed to keeping the TRI going for years to come.”
In the meantime, Smith and the rest of the Boosters are hoping for better things in the fall.
“We aren’t quite sure what the future holds, so we’re crossing our fingers for fall,” she said. “We’re hoping all goes back to something normal and we can have concessions open up again to gain our footing again.
“Meanwhile, we do have some spirit wear to sell if anyone is interested in helping support our efforts.”
You can visit the Allegan All-Sports Booster Club Facebook page or email them at alleganallsportsboosters@gmail.com.
 

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