22nd running of Tiger Triathlon next month

Race entries due by mid-JuneIt’s doubtful that John Olson, the originator and mastermind behind the Tiger Triathlon that will make its 22nd run next month, envisioned what the race would become in the next millennium. Okay, on second thought, maybe Olson did envision a local sporting event that would become something of an enduring icon to the athletes that enjoy competition in increments of three—a bracing swim in a mountain lake, a bike ride mostly downhill to Colville, topped off by a morning run around a high school and golf course.So it goes with the Tiger-Triathlon, which will make another run Saturday, July 21 starting at the Gillette Lake Campground.Jake Wilson, the city of Colville’s new Recreation Coordinator, will also be running his first Tiger Triathlon as Race Director. The Colville High School graduate, an outstanding runner for coach Dean Fischer’s cross-country team and part of a state championship squad, is looking forward to a little role reversal.‘It’s time to give back to a sport I love.’“I have only been a participant in triathlons in the past,” Wilson said. “Now it’s time to give back to a sport I love.”Wilson says he is pleased that Olson will participate in the 2012 Tiger Triathlon after a decade off. Olson dreamed up the race back in 1986. He said he wearied of triathlons happening on Sunday’s and not being able to participate. One thing led to another and Olson, fascinated with Ironman triathlons in general and the Kona Iron Man in particular, got the ball rolling. Those early triathlons were modest affairs, run and biked around the streets of Colville and around Colville City Park.The first race had 27 entrants “and a wealth of wonderful volunteers like Ron Noble, who was kind of the face of the Tiger Triathlon,” Wilson said after talking to Olson about those early Tiger Triathlons.Noble is still an active and visible face at Colville High School and one of the top teachers in the district.Other notable faces associated with early Tiger Triathlons include longtime teachers Jerry and Debbie Greenman, Joe Barreca; Colville’s first Recreation Coordinator, Bill Ferguson; Larry Fetter and Randy Stebbins, who is still in charge of the Tiger Triathlon running course and will rejoin the triathlon next month.The Tiger Triathlon was adopted by the Colville Recreation Department in 1989. The race hasn’t been an annual affair—there were a few years when the event did not take place because of road construction on Highway 20 east (the Tiger Highway).Volunteers then and now play a major role in the success of an undertaking like the Tiger Triathlon. Without them, there would be no triathlon. “The success of the Tiger Tri is solely on our volunteers,” Wilson said. “The more enthusiastic volunteers we have, the more smoothly the race will be.”If you are willing to volunteer, contact the Colville Recreation Department (684-6037). “We need help before the race setting up the course and transition areas, during the race, and after the race for take-down,” Wilson explained. “Whenever you are available to help, we would be very grateful.”Porsek will return to defend titleThe 2011 overall winner of the Tiger Tri, Kevin Prosek, will return to defend his title next month. Women’s winner Haley Cooper Scott will not return because of prior commitments, Wilson said.Also returning to participate are CHS graduates Jesse and Kailee Carnes and Danny Todd.The Tiger Triathlon will get underway with the traditional Super 1 Foods-sponsored carb loading dinner (pasta dinner) in the Colville High School cafeteria on Friday, July 20 from 6 to 8 p.m.Packet pick-up will also be at the high school from 6 to 8 p.m.On triathlon day, registration at Gillette Lake Campground will be from 6 to 7:30 a.m. A pre-race briefing will precede the race at 7:45 a.m.The race from Gillette Lake will start at 8 a.m.The awards’ ceremony will take place at approximately 11:45 a.m., following the finish of the last competitor.Individual registration is $65 and needs to be postmarked by June 15. Team registration is $45 and should also be postmarked by June 15.Individual late entry after June 15 is $75. Team late entry is $50.After the “triangular” swim in Gillette Lake, located at the 3,200-foot level, swimmers will don their bike gear for a ride mostly downhill to Colville High School and the transition area from bike to run around Rotary Trail and Colville High School. Colville is located at 1,900 feet.Wilson encourages area residents to get involved—either as volunteers or participants.“The Tiger Tri really is an awesome event because everyone can join in and participate,” Wilson said. “It really doesn’t take a world class athlete to do it…if you don’t want to do the whole thing, get some of your friends together and form a team. There will be people of all levels of fitness who will be there.”