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The Alaska Women’s Gold Nugget Triathlon, the longest running all-female triathlon, now in its 33rd year, has 1,500 women competing in the sprint-distance race, and registration fills up in less than five minutes, says Sheila Swanson, the president of the Gold Nugget Triathlon Board of Directors, who puts on the race. The biggest draws are the beginner friendliness, the sense of camaraderie, and the high quality of the event (with special attention to details), which led to it being named one of the “13 Must-Do U.S. Destination Races” by USA Triathlon’s magazine.
Before you envision an icy swim, rest assured the swim takes place in a local 50-meter pool with a circle swimming configuration. The pool swim, however, makes it an all-day event—women start swimming at 9 a.m., and there are women in the pool until around 3 p.m., Swanson says. The last racer usually crosses the finish line around 6 p.m. Temperatures are expected to be in the 40s in the morning, close to 50 degrees in the afternoon. Two years ago, however, Anchorage had snow the day before the race. “Fortunately, it melted enough to hold the race, but we called it the Cold Nugget Triathlon that year,” she says.
The race was started with the mission to “empower women and girls of all ages (minimum 10 years old) and all athletic abilities to improve their lives through fitness.” Most years, about a third of the athletes are newbies (there will be 426 this year), and there’s a sense of supportiveness and camaraderie that keeps the women coming back. The race also encourages teams, including mother-daughter teams and grandmother-mother-daughter teams (called the “Tri-Generation” Team category). “Lots of racers cannot wait to get the next generation involved!” Swanson says. This year, there will be 32 teams, five tri-generation teams, and 324 participants on mother-daughter teams.
What: Women’s Gold Nugget Triathlon
Where: Anchorage Alaska
When: May 17, 2015
Distance: Sprint (500-meter swim, 12-mile bike, 4.1-mile run)
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