Race Radar: Minnesota’s Superior Man Tri

Athletes take a short ride out on a cruise ship before jumping off one by one into the unpredictable waters of Lake Superior.

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“It’s like the Escape from Alcatraz of the Midwest,” says Clint Agar, co-owner of the Duluth Running Company and Superior Man executive director, about Duluth’s Superior Man Tri, which starts from a boat in Lake Superior. “Athletes take a short ride out on a cruise ship, called the Vista Fleet, before jumping off one by one into the unpredictable waters of Lake Superior,” where they could face “chilly water dipping into the high 50s and strong currents.” This challenging swim is one of the factors that will draw 350 athletes to the third edition of the half-iron-distance race this year, as well as 125 participants to the first ever “41.5” distance (0.5-mile swim, 35.4-mile bike and 5.4-mile run).

Following the swim, athletes will transition in an air-conditioned indoor arena (something that helped athletes cool off the last two years when the race experienced uncharacteristically high temperatures), then take off on the bike and run courses along the scenic north shore of Lake Superior before a finish under the arches of Bayfront Park. The relatively flat and fast bike and run courses make Superior Man great for first-timer long-course athletes.

While athletes enjoy the course, the destination of the small town of Duluth in Northern Minnesota is just as a big a pull. “Duluth definitely doesn’t disappoint as a place to make a vacation of the race weekend,” Agar says. “A majority of the participants … are coming from the Twin Cities metro, and other pockets near Fargo, Milwaukee, Thunder Bay, Ontario and Madison.” Duluth was even recently voted “best town” by Outside.

Produced by Duluth Running Company, Superior Man is a well-organized event—giving it a “big-race feel with a signature small-town Duluth flavor,” leading Minnesota Tri News to name it the winner of the 2013 Triathlete’s Choice Race of the Year. “The beautiful views of Lake Superior on the bike and run course and the overall cool vibe of Duluth are things you can only find at the Superior Man,” Agar says. “As race directors who are also triathletes, we know the expectations of the athletes, and this perspective improves our event.”

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What: Superior Man Triathlon
Where: Duluth, Minnesota
When: Aug. 24, 2014
Distance: Half-iron (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run) and “41.5” (0.5-mile swim, 35.4-mile bike, 5.4-mile run)
Website: Superiormantri.com

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