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Third annual Tool Shed Duathlon hoping to attract new athletes

The third annual Tool Shed Duathlon on June 5 at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo Grounds will be a chance for local athletes to try a new sport for the first time.
SPO-ToolShedDuathlon
Athletes of all fitness levels are welcome to participate in the second in-person Tool Shed Duathlon, held June 5 at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo Grounds.

Runners can tighten up their laces and bikers can dust off their helmets because group sporting events in Airdrie are back this summer, including the third annual Tool Shed Duathlon on June 5 at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo Grounds.

Athletes of all fitness levels are welcome to participate in the second in-person duathlon held by Rise and Ride (RnR) and Calgary’s Tool Shed Brewing Company.

Race director Richelle Love said the run and bike event takes place at a unique venue and proceeds will support the MitoCanada Foundation.

“It definitely has that special element because it's so rural and the course is so rural,” Love said. “Cars are very limited so they're definitely getting a safe, beautiful course.”

The sprint distance duathlon starts off with a five-kilometre run, followed by a 20-kilometre bike ride along rural country roads, and finishes with another 2.5-kilometre run.

Love hopes to see people give it a try and said it’s an event that allows people to push themselves to do something they may have never done before.

“Really, all they have to do is bike or run for 30 minutes and they will be able to complete this event,” Hope said.

Calgary radio station C-Jay 92.1 FM morning hosts Jessie and J.D. have registered for the event and have never done anything like it, Love shared.

“They're pretty excited to get out of their comfort zones and push themselves to do something they never thought possible,” she said. “And that's what we want to show someone, [that] it's a very safe environment.”

She added it’s not a huge event, but there will still be lots of volunteers around to help out.

With no current COVID-19 restrictions in place, this year will allow for a lot more interaction between people compared to the first two years of the event. That means water stations and post-event activities like a beer garden by Tool Shed and live music, Love noted.

The inaugural race in 2020 was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions and the following year, the duathlon was held in-person but on a smaller scale.

“We believe in the event and we know starting a new event that has never run before during this time will take a couple years to [grow] and build that trust,” Love said.

The duathlon event became a reality after a conversation between Love, her business partner, and the owner of Tool Shed during the TransRockies Run in Colorado.

Love said sometimes great ideas like the Tool Shed Duathlon are born when running through the mountains and chatting with a friend for an extended period of time.

The hope for the Tool Shed Duathlon was to raise money for the MitoCanada foundation. Love explained that any event hosted by RnR donates a portion of proceeds to MitoCanada.

“Our friend’s son was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease about 15 years ago and he started the MitoCanada foundation and that's why we have ties to that,” Love said.

Mitochondrial disease is a group of disorders caused by dysfunctional mitochondria that can affect multiple systems in the body, including the liver, kidneys, pancreas, brain, digestive tract and more. There are over 300 illnesses associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.

Despite two slow years for the Tool Shed Duathlon in terms of participation and fundraising, Love said the goal is to raise $5,000 for the foundation this year.

She added the past few years were somewhat disappointing, but that people are finally getting more comfortable with going to larger events again.

As of press time, more than 60 athletes have signed up for the race and Love hopes to see upwards of 150 participants this June.

“We know from past events that a lot of people register last minute,” she said, adding their most recent event saw over 100 people register within the last two weeks.

Duathlon racers will receive a T-shirt, a finisher’s medal, and a cold beer and bag of pretzels at the finish line. They are encouraged to bring a lawn chair to enjoy live music following the race.

Registration for the 18-plus event is $110 per person. More information and how to collect pledges for MitoCanada can be found at rnrpremierevents.com/tool-shed-duathlon.

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