(10-20-05) From Press Release – The Grand Columbian Triathlon Race Committee is pleased to announce the very first “Nice Distance” triathlon in North America. The ITU Long Course is a 4K swim, a 120K bike and 30K run – a variation of the well known “Nice“ France distance and long course standard used for the ITU World Long course Championships. The Grand Columbian long course will be a direct ITU World Championship qualifier as a USAT signature event. Top finishers will qualify directly for Team USA. The Grand Columbian Iron distance and Long Course Triathlons are the 2006 USAT Pacific Northwest Regional Ultra distance and Long Course Championships. The Half Iron is a US Half Championship qualifier.
This is the first opportunity for North American athletes to experience this distance on the continent. It is long enough to represent a great challenge but short enough to be able to be “raced“. The decision to host this race represents the commitment by Total Health Events to give athletes a chance to test themselves against the ITU long course standard. Combined, the Grand Columbian triathlons will offer the best endurance triathlons in North America. “We have an unparalleled venue in the wide open course, amazing vistas and inspiring bike routes. The scenic run course along the Columbia River will easily accommodate all distances.“ The Grand Columbian will present the highest quality that USAT races have to offer and the stature of a true championship race. Now in its third year, the Grand Columbian is rapidly establishing itself as one of a handful of “must-do“ races in North America based upon the course, the outstanding community support and highest quality race management.
One prevailing question was whether to replace the Iron race with the ITU Long Course or run them both. “We thought long and hard about the issue“ stated Jonathan Hoskins Race Director. “We heard from numerous athletes that there is a real interest in continuing the special iron event as well as introducing the ITU Long Course. Given the responses from athlete, we were able to craft a win-win by offering the ITU Long course Championship distance as a unique special event on a variation of the Iron course. We are blessed with an exceptional venue for the best endurance triathlons in North America. Our community volunteer base is thrilled to continue Iron triathlons and, with modifications, support both endurance events as well as the Half-Iron.“
The organizers have decided to cap total participation in all three races at a combined 650 athletes. Although the course could handle up to 1,200 athletes, the organizers want to ensure every athlete feels personally supported and part of a complete Championships event experience.
The Grand Columbian International Triathlons will be held Saturday, September 16, 2006 in Grand Coulee Dam area. North Central Washington USA. For more information go to the website at www.thegrandcolumbian.com