Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion M. Scott Moon photographs the "MoonCheyEttes" after the final leg of their race on Sunda yJune 14, 2015 at the Tri the Kenai triathlon in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion M. Scott Moon photographs the "MoonCheyEttes" after the final leg of their race on Sunda yJune 14, 2015 at the Tri the Kenai triathlon in Soldotna, Alaska.

Local triathlon raises donations, community support

Athletes were cheered on by family members and fellow triathlon enthusiasts as they traversed the sixth annual Tri-The-Kenai Triathlon in Soldotna on Sunday.

Created by Director Tony Oliver and Co-Founder Greg Russell, the race includes intermediate, sprint and youth divisions and continues to draw numerous athletes from around the state. This year, Oliver said there were 36 individual participants registered for the intermediate course, 101 for the spring and 34 for the youth division. There were 12 adult teams and one youth team.

In all, 183 participants competed for the top overall spots and awards within their age groups on Sunday. Money from registration fees and a raffle at the event goes to a different charity each year, Oliver said.

This year, he estimated between $1,000 and $2,000 will go to the Autism Society of Alaska.

“I like to keep it local,” Oliver said. “I like to affect people who live in my community.”

Athletes began with the swimming portion of the race at the Skyview Middle School in Soldotna before moving on to the bike section on Sterling Highway, and finishing with a run through the Tsalteshi Trails near the middle school.

For Oliver, Tri-The-Kenai was about more than friendly competition. Creating the race began in2003 when he made a dramatic life change – he quit smoking, lost a significant amount of weight and began competing in triathlon. He has completed close to 60 today. Oliver and Russell took advantage of the lack of a triathlon on the Kenai Peninsula to create Tri-The-Kenai, and he said the event and sport are ever-growing.

“I was almost 300 pounds,” Oliver said. “Once you do a triathlon, you either love or you hate it. There’s just a sense of accomplishment.”

Each year, the athletes with the top completion times from the previous year are scheduled to begin first. The youth athletes began racing at 8 a.m., followed by the top twelve women and men at 10 a.m.

Lori Deschamps, of Anchorage, took first place overall for the women in the sprint division with a time of 59:43. She said her family makes the trip every year and spends plenty of time on the peninsula in summer. As an athlete who competes in events around the country, Deschamps said Tri-The-Kenai is one of the most enjoyable and well-organized races she has participated in.

“I love this one, because it starts at a time when it’s warm,” she said. “I love the run in the woods. I just love being alone in the woods, regardless of me chasing somebody.”

Luke Kiskaddon, who took second in the sprint category for the men with a time of 57:56, also enjoyed the portion of the triathlon that went through the Tsalteshi Trails.

“It’s the only race that I know of where I can go on a road bike and a trail run, which is a really great combo,” the Anchorage native said. “It’s a really well-run event. This is one of my favorite triathlon anywhere, (and) I race all over the U.S. It’s just a really cool vibe.”

Both athletes said they plan on returning to Tri-The-Kenai in the future.

Next year, Oliver said he plans to add a separate division for older youth, as well as a team division for the intermediate race, which was added to the event last year. The event was sponsored by Skinny Ravens Events and Timing, the Central Peninsula Hospital, Beemun’s Bike and Ski Loft, Mad2 and others. Central Emergency Services members were standing by in case of emergency throughout the event.

“I hope we’re perceived as an organization that wants to involve and give back,” Oliver said. “At the end of the day, that’s our end goal.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Anna Chesney runs across the finish line during the final leg of the Tri the Kenai triathlon on Sunday June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Anna Chesney runs across the finish line during the final leg of the Tri the Kenai triathlon on Sunday June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Will Oviatt, of team "River Rush" runs on the Tsalteshi Trails during the last leg of the Tri the Kenai triathlon on June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Will Oviatt, of team “River Rush” runs on the Tsalteshi Trails during the last leg of the Tri the Kenai triathlon on June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Katherine Tutela takes off on her bike during the Tri the Kenai race on June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Katherine Tutela takes off on her bike during the Tri the Kenai race on June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Ryan Peterson takes off with his bike as racing partner Chelsea Passmore cheers him on during the Tri the Kenai triathlon on June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Ryan Peterson takes off with his bike as racing partner Chelsea Passmore cheers him on during the Tri the Kenai triathlon on June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Katy Meek swims during the first leg of her Tri the Kenai triathlon competition day on Sunday June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Katy Meek swims during the first leg of her Tri the Kenai triathlon competition day on Sunday June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Katy Meek, swimmer for team "River Rush" runs out of the Skyview Middle School pool during the 2015 Tri the Kenai triathlon on Sunday June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

Photo by Rashah McChesney/Peninsula Clarion Katy Meek, swimmer for team “River Rush” runs out of the Skyview Middle School pool during the 2015 Tri the Kenai triathlon on Sunday June 14, 2015 in Soldotna, Alaska.

More in News

From right, Soldotna City Council members Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings, Dan Nelson and Jordan Chilson listen to testimony during a council meeting on Wednesday, July 13, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Council to mull limits on use of Soldotna ADUs as short-term rentals

Accessory dwelling units refer to subordinate, detached units

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Wildlife Troopers and CES rescue hunter missing for 12 hours

State troopers were notified around 6 p.m. Wednesday that the hunter hadn’t returned

The Alaska State Capitol awaits a legislators forming new majority coalitions and the return of Gov. Mike Dunleavy after the winners of the general election were announced Wednesday. The Senate will have a 17-member bipartisan ruling coalition, while the House arrangement remains uncertain due to at least one likely recount and questions about partisan alignments. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Bipartisan majority formed for new state Senate

Eight Republicans join nine Democrats after many years of Republican rule

Dr. Michael Reyes manipulates ROSA during a demonstration at Central Peninsula Hospital on Monday, Nov. 21, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Knee surgeries get assist from robot arms

Robotic Surgical Assistant, called ROSA, is a new addition to CPH and the first in Alaska

During a hearing at the Juneau Courthouse, 34-year-old Anthony Michael Migliaccio pleaded not guilty after he was arrested on a first-degree murder charge in the killing of a 55-year-old Juneau woman. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)
Man arrested in Juneau killing pleads not guilty

News follows a two-month investigation.

Kenai Finance Director Terry Eubank presents during a budget work session on Saturday, May 14, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai tries again to fill city manager position

After 1st round of negotiations fall through, Kenai to pursue Eubank for role

Soldotna Montessori Charter School kindergartners parade with balloons around the school playground on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Balloons on parade

Montessori kids put spin on traditional Macy’s parade

Most Read