Organizers: Gold Nugget Triathlon is a go for 2021

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 10:55 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The annual Gold Nugget Triathlon, an Anchorage-based race highlighting women and girls as participants and attracting thousands of registrants over the past few years, will be taking place this spring, according to organizers.

“We’re super excited that we’re going to have an event,” said GNT Board President Mary Vollendorf. “We have five different formats for people, and it’s been really positive. We’ve gotten a lot of positive messages from people, and it’s pretty much something for everybody.”

The race is a departure from previous formats and will include several changes from 2020, in which most all of the GNT activities were canceled. One of the main alterations is a much smaller cap on certain participant allowances: only 400 people will be allowed to compete in the full, in-person version of the race, happening on Sunday, May 16.

Still, despite the limits on in-person participation, there are several options for racers to choose from, including an all-virtual setup and a mix of both in-person and virtual competition. The virtual option has an unlimited capacity, while the mixed options will welcome about 1,000 people total, according to Vollendorf.

For the all-virtual options, racers may choose between a triathlon, comprising a 500-yard swim, 12-mile bike and 3.1-mile run; or a virtual duathlon, including a 1.2-mile run, a 12-mile bike and then another 3.1-mile run. For the hybrid races, participants can do a live swim with a virtual bike and a live run, or do a virtual swim, virtual bike and live run. About 1,000 racers will be allowed for the hybrid races, and approximately 100 will be allowed to compete every hour for those same contests.

“Since it’s a three-mile run, we hope an hour will be enough,” Vallendorf said, noting that some things about the race could still change before the in-person start.

GNT also “purposely came up with a plan for multiple events to satisfy the various needs,” the group said, and to provide both former and future racers the opportunity to compete in one way or another.

As for registration, this year has several different phases during which certain groups will be able to sign up for the race. The first phase, specifically for people who deferred their entries in 2020, will open on Feb. 8. Registration for the general public will open at 8 p.m. on March 1.

Deferred registration payments that were made in full for 2020 will roll over, Vollendorf said, but those racers will still need to sign up so that they can choose which competition they want to do. The deadline for that is Feb. 24.

Unlike in 2020, which had a registration close date, organizers said Tuesday that people will be able to register for this year’s race through in-person race day since many people will be participating virtually.

Some of the other major changes to this year’s race include a start and finish near Chugiak High School and the nearby trails instead of at Bartlett High School, and a “snake swim” instead of a lap swim, in which racers all enter the pool from the same lane and are spaced apart, in this case by about 30 seconds.

Spectators will also still be allowed in some of the designated outdoor areas, but there will be no indoor seating for people to watch the pool portions.

“We’re not really going to have spectator seating there,” Vollendorf said, “but there are still some things we’re trying to work out.”

For more information on the race, check out the official Gold Nugget Triathlon website.

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