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Triathlon comes home to Katy with new features

July 10, 2018

The Katy Triathlon not only will have a new course this fall but also several added features. But some constants remain for the Sept. 23 event.

David Rainey, who started the triathlon 26 years ago in Cinco Ranch, continues as the race director. And the Rotary Club of Katy continues as the organizing group, using net proceeds to fund scholarships for high school students in the Katy Independent School District. Almost $300,000 has been awarded in scholarships since the triathlon began, said Paul Kurt, this year’s co-chairman with Lance LaCour. Both are Katy Rotarians.

“We’ve moved the event from Firethorne to Cane Island,” said Kurt. “We envision that partnership lasting for an extended period of time. Cane Island was very receptive. They have been an incredible partner so far.”

For many years, Firethorne subdivision served as the triathlon’s third home.

“What happened is development is complete out there,” explained Kurt.

The community has both a homeowners’ association and a municipal utility district and both need to approve the triathlon.

“The homeowners association is not real keen on having it out there since the development is complete,” he said.

Another consideration was that the bike route traveled through some high-traffic areas. Cyclists used Highway 90 and the Interstate 10 feeder road heading east. Safety was a concern no matter how careful organizers were, how many police officers assisted or how many traffic cones were used.

“We had to keep an eye on the cars,” said Kurt.

The new bike course steers away from railroad tracks, Highway 90 and I-10, using roads in west Katy.

The standard sprint triathlon, sanctioned by the USA Triathlon, consisting of a 14.8-mile bike ride, 500-meter swim and three-mile run will be joined by two new events — duathlon and aquabike — that will go on simultaneously. The event is rain or shine.

The duathlon consists of a three-mile run, a 15-mile bike ride and another three-mile run, explained Kurt. The aquabike consists of a 500-meter swim and a 15-mile bike ride.

“We wanted to upgrade this entire event so we’re offering more flexibility,” said Kurt. Some people don’t like to swim so they can participate in the duathlon. Some people don’t want to do three events so they can compete in the aquabike.

Rainey also added two new divisions to the oldest ongoing triathlon in the Houston area: Legends and high school. He explained he was approached by a lot of friends who kind of retired and are kind of coming back. Participants must have done a triathlon prior to 1999. “They can come back, get back in the sport and have a good time being back,” said Rainey. In the high school division, youths in grades 9-12 will race head to head against each other, said Rainey.

The sprint triathlon features individuals who are grouped by age group and gender. Visit www.katytriathlon.com for information. Rainey said participation is capped at 900. The event will begin at 7:30 a.m. and parking will be at Katy High School.

“We’re bringing this event home to Katy,” said Kurt. “Our goal is to make it as successful as we can because it benefits kids in Katy. The goal is to keep building this event.”

At some point organizers would like it to become an Olympic triathlon. “We have some big goals for this event moving forward,” said Kurt, who for 15 years coordinated the run segment of the triathlon.

There’s also another more immediate goal.

“What we’re striving to do is make this a family event this year,” continued Kurt.

Participants can pick up their event packets between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22, at Cane Island Community Center, 2100 Cane Island Parkway.

Registered participants and their families are invited to a pre-race pasta dinner from 3-6 p.m. prepared by Chef Luis Martinez with entertainment provided by a band. No Label Brewing of Katy will man the beer concession. In a VIP air-conditioned tent, event sponsors will be served speciality dishes prepared by Martinez with beer from No Label Brewing, said Kurt.

The family theme continues on Sunday, he said, with Texas and American flag salutes, singing of the national anthem and music provided by a deejay. The deejay will return for post-event party along with vendors for food and beverages when awards will be presented in a ceremony.

karen.zurawski@chron.com

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