GRAND RAPIDS —
(Note: File photo used was taken before the COVID- 19 pandemic).
Like so many events last year the Grand Rapids Triathlon had to be canceled due to the pandemic, but the race directors have been hard at work planning for 2021.
The GR Triathlon is Michigan’s largest independent triathlon and known around the country for being a great race for new and experienced athletes and while they had to go virtual last year they’re now busy planning for the Summer of 2021.
And while we don’t know what things will look like then, the directors say they wanted to give it their best shot to make it happen! They changed it to a two-day event instead of one, to split up racers, they changed the location of the transition area and made other changes to the course and finish line for social distancing. They have also chosen Make-a-Wish Michigan as their charity, which like so many nonprofits, has been as well having to adapt during all of this to continue granting wishes to kids facing life threatening illnesses. Many that had to be put on hold when the pandemic hit.
Right now, there are 850 wishes waiting to be granted and without the support of the community and their life changing work for families wouldn't be possible. That’s where the dream team comes in. It was started by a former wish dad looking to give back and through that team you can sign up for it for free. All while raising money to help grant wishes.
"I really think it would leave a big hole in the endurance, you know, landscape here,” said John Conkling, who serves as the director of the race. “There's a reason why GR tries so respected and so well run and why athletes love it so much. And, you know, we don't want it to go anywhere. And that's why we've been, you know, we've been working for months and months to make sure that we can come back, you know, stronger than ever.”
They also add a super sprint option which is a small version of the race to encourage more people. To find out how you can sign up for the event under the dream team and start raising money to help grant wishes click here.
It's emotional,” said Dan VanSkiver, captain and founder of the participating team, called 'The Dream Team.' “It really is to see that, how it's gained traction, and just different people out there racing like that and supporting the team. And just to think about how much fund-raising and awareness of make wishes has come from that, and how many wishes had really been able to be granted. Because of all these people that have joined the team and raced in different races and really made it made it a little bit more, more well known, I guess, than I thought it would be. So, it is it is really, really fun to see it grow like that.”