EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Hundreds of athletes crossed the finish line at the 36th annual Rhoades McKee Reeds Lake Triathlon – Duathlon Saturday.
But unlike years past, this year’s event offered area universities a chance to compete. Race Director Betsy Granstra explained that adding universities like Calvin and Millikin to the mix only heightened the competition for everyone else.
“We offered different waves for those who compete,” Gransta said. “We have had elite waves and various age divisions but one thing we’re super proud of this year is having our collegiate wave.”
In 2018, then-Calvin College added women’s triathlon as the school’s 22nd intercollegiate varsity sport, becoming the first college in the Michigan to do so.
“They’re here and we’re excited about that,” Granstra said. “They invited their friends from Milliken University to race with them. It’s just a special day, and Calvin’s just right here in our backyard.”
Families and friends of racers crowded the streets of East Grand Rapids, clapping and cheering for their favorite competitors like Todd Buckingham, who has participated in the Reed’s Lake Tri before. This year, he finished on top.
“He actually just got back from Switzerland racing in the world triathlon championship,” Granstra said. “He’s been a course record holder for us. We surely weren’t surprised to see him cross that finish line here today.”
Buckingham and nine other elite sprint champions in the men’s wave were awarded $3,000, along with ten elite spring champion women.
For those not competing in the elite wave, Granstra explained the race offers the community a great opportunity to be active.
“We’re at the end of the summer, a lot of families and friends can train together and it’s just a fun family atmosphere,” Granstra said. “And It’s a beautiful day in East Grand Rapids, our crowds are cheering, they’re just excited to see people swimming, biking and running.”