For the first time in its history, the Whidbey Island Triathlon will be happening virtually due to COVID-19.
The 24th annual event is scheduled for a period of 10 days, from July 24 to Aug. 2, meaning that participants can choose when to race and self-report their times.
Because there is no official course, there will be no race support or awards for placing.
The triathlon follows a choose-your-own-adventure format, allowing flexibility for racers who can cycle or run indoors or outdoors since there is no course for the biking or running legs of the race.
The half-mile swim can be replaced with alternative options such as kayaking, paddelboarding, an indoor rowing machine or even burpees.
Other ideas for swimming alternatives can be submitted to the race director at firstname.lastname@example.org and may be published for other participants to use.
The activity must be achievable in 15-25 minutes, the duration of the swimming leg of the triathlon, and involve vigorous use of the arms, shoulders and core muscles.
Participants can register for $40 at the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District website, http://swparks.org/recreation/whidbey-island-triathlon/. The athlete will receive a shirt, commemorative coaster, digital race bib and certificate for finishing.
Results should be reported by Aug. 3 and backed up with documentation, such as photos or screen shots.
The decision to go virtual with the triathlon was made in order to follow rules on social distancing to protect at-risk populations, including volunteers and racers.
Many off-island participants wouldn’t have been able to race along the historical route this year, and participant numbers would have had to be limited.
With the hope that the virtual format will not make a comeback next year, the 2021 Whidbey Island Triathlon is tentatively scheduled for Saturday, July 31, 2021.