Alexandria Kiwanis hosts first triathlon at Brophy Park, turnout exceeds expectations

Over 200 people showed up at Lake Brophy Park to compete in the Alexandria Kiwanis inaugural triathlon Saturday morning.

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Triathletes cross the finish line at Lake Brophy Park after a 500-yard swim, 12-mile bike ride and 2.6-mile run. Alexandria Kiwanis hosted its first triathlon, where 240 competitors from around the Midwest ran the race on July 31, 2021. (Jared Rubado / Alexandria Echo Press)

Jillian Reiner expected a group of around 50 people when she decided to host her first-ever triathlon at Lake Brophy Park on Saturday. Little did she know she'd see five times that.

The Alexandria Kiwanis Club organized its inaugural charity triathlon to raise money for kids in the community. The overwhelming turnout for the swimming, biking and running competition blew Reiner, the event organizer, away.

"Our goal was to get 50 people," Reiner said. "We ended up with 240. We tried to cap it at 200, but I couldn't say no. We had ages from 8-years-old to 70 come out today."

Reiner described the event as a sprint triathlon.

"It's just a shorter course," she said. "The lengths can kind of vary. This was pretty standard with a 500-yard swim and a 12-mile bike ride. We kept the running a little shorter because of all the hills. We didn't want to be too terribly cruel."


The race started with either a 500-yard swim or a one-mile paddle. Paddlers were allowed to use kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards if they preferred not to swim.

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Jillian Reiner, the Alexandria Kiwanis Triathlon organizer, chats with a medal winner following the awards ceremony on July 31, 2021. Reiner expects Kiwanis to host another triathlon next summer and for it to become an annual event. (Jared Rubado / Alexandria Echo Press)

The second leg of the race was a 12.1-mile bike ride near Lake Brophy. The Douglas County Sheriff's Posse with volunteers helped guide the triathletes around the course.

The run was 2.62 miles through the up-and-down terrain at Lake Brophy Park. Runners went through the hiking paths and up on top of hills overlooking North Union Lake and the Alexandria Area.

Reiner wanted to create an event for triathletes of all skill levels. Along with the standard solo triathlon, duo teams could tag team the race in a separate division.

"I don't think every event offers a relay, but we wanted it so ours can be approachable for beginners," Reiner said. "I've seen them before, so that's why we added a paddle for some swimmers. The swimming part kind of deters some people. We want beginners to give it a shot. We tried to make it easy for people to give this a try, and it sounded like it was."

For the serious athletes who competed for medals on Saturday, Pickle Events timed the triathlon.


"We had professional timers here so that if you were coming for a time, you would get it," Reiner said. "If you wanted to truly race the event, you could do that here. We wanted to encourage all kinds of athletes to make it out here and run this race the way they wanted to. I think we did a good job of that."

Alexandria’s Brian Storhaug had the fastest time of 57:01, and beat South St. Paul’s Corey Nygaard by 55 seconds. Storhaug and Nygaard were the only two competitors to finish in under an hour.

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Medal winners gathered near the finish line to hear the results come in from 240 triathletes at the Alexandria Kiwanis inaugural triathlon at Lake Brophy Park on July 31, 2021. (Jared Rubado / Alexandria Echo Press)

Fergus Falls’ Joellen Kohlman-Petrick (1:07:40) recorded the fastest female time on Saturday and finished 14th overall. Right behind Kohlman-Petrick was Alexandria’s Kadie Hokanson, who finished in 1:07:56.

All proceeds from the triathlon are going to the Alexandria Noontime Kiwanis Club. Next year, Reiner is hoping to have a kids triathlon after seeing this year's turnout.

"We got together and thought this was the perfect facility to host this event for charity," Reiner said. "We really wanted to get people outside, and we're donating the money for children in the community. This is all about kids. I think we bit off a little more than we could chew this year, but we really want to add a splash and dash next year for kids."



TOP FIVE MEN’S FINISHERS- 1- Brian Storhaug 57:01, 2-Corey Nygaard 57:56; 3-Kurt Youngdahl 1:00:30; 4- Joe Schneiderhan 1:01:20; 5- Easton Syverson 1:02:30; TOP FIVE WOMEN’S FINISHERS- 1- Joellen Kohlman-Petrick 1:07:40; 2- Kadie Hokanson; 3- Lisa Hines 1:10:02; 4- Brita Loynachan 1:12:28; 5- Katelin Roos 1:14:12; TOP FIVE PADDLE FINISHERS- 1- Chris Brown 1:11:33; 2- Marcel Derosier 1:14:43; 3- Martin Machance 1:15:35; 4- Brain Boehmer 1:20:50; 5- Adam Barnett 1:21:47

Alexandria's Brian Storhaug runs with his bike on July 31, 2021 during the Alexandria Kiwanis Triathlon at Lake Brophy Park. Storhaug finished in first place with a time of 57:01. (Submitted)

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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