San Rafael Classic Triathlon Showcases Closed Course, Beautiful Scenery


By Dave Iltis — The San Rafael Classic Triathlon is a fundraiser for Emery County Search and Rescue. The triathlon is in it’s 10th year, and this year looks to be another fine event. Held in the beautiful San Rafael Swell region of Utah, a large geologic feature that is a giant dome-shaped anticline of sandstone, shale, and limestone that was pushed up during the Paleocene Laramide Orogeny 60-40 million years ago 75 by 40 miles (source: Wikipedia) and a perfect backdrop for a triathlon. We asked race organizer Wade Allinson a few questions about the race.

Coming out of the water during the San Rafael Classic Triathlon, Photo by Patsy Stoddard
On the bike at the San Rafael Classic Triathlon, Photo by Patsy Stoddard
Getting ready for the swim at the San Rafael Classic Triathlon, Photo by Patsy Stoddard
Cycling West: What are some of the highlights of the race?

San Rafael Classic Triathlon: This event is a 100% closed course competition. Competitors do not have to compete with traffic and there is plenty of room in the water. The race starts at Huntington Lake. The entire park is closed for the race. The bike course leaves the lake area and goes up a road that is closed to other traffic. At the turned around point, the return has some spectacular views of the San Rafael Desert. The run goes around the lake and can be viewed by spectators. We also offer a youth event which is a big hit with families. We offer both an Olympic and Sprint event. The time it takes to finish varies from one hour and fifteen minutes to over two hours.

CW: The event raises funds for Emery County Search and Rescue. Tell us about the organization, what it does, and how the funds are used.

SRCT: This event is sponsored by the Emery County Search and Rescue Team. The team is composed of local volunteers. 100% of the proceeds from this race goes to support search and rescue operations on the San Rafael Desert and Manti La Sal National Forest. Last year our team assisted in over 100 rescue operations. We are one of the busiest teams in Utah. Many of our operations are recue and unfortunately some are body recoveries. Our rescues involve a variety of disciplines that require specific gear and rescue equipment. Money from this event helps us to support these operations.

CW: What support will you have during the race?

SRCT: This race is put on by the search and rescue team members. This race is heavily supported in terms of manpower which helps us to run a smooth and efficient event. We have support teams in the water and water/aid stations on the run and bike portions of the event.

CW: What sort of options are there for motels and camping? Tell us about the pre-event dinner too.

SRCT: Athletes have a variety of options for camping if they want to come down the night before. Camping is available in Huntington Canyon, Little Bear Campground and Mill Site State Park. There are two local hotels, one in Castle Dale and the other in Huntington. There are several bed and breakfast locations as well. This event is located 15 minutes from Price and hotels are also available there. Friday night we offer a spaghetti dinner. This meal is included with the sign up. Meals for other family members can be purchased as well.

CW: There’s a kid’s event. This isn’t common, tell us more about it.

SRCT: The kid’s event is very unique. Most triathlons do not offer kid events. This is a highlight of our event. The course is substantially shortened to make it fun for all levels.

CW: Racers have the opportunity to compete against Sheriff Funk. We understand that this is the last time he will be doing the race. What’s the scoop with this race within the race?

SRCT: All finishers will receive a finisher medallion. This year Sheriff Funk will be given a head start. Any athlete that passes the Sheriff during the event will be given a unique and limited edition, Emery County Search and Rescue challenge coin.

CW: The race is held in the San Rafael Swell. Please tell us a little about the history of the area.

SRCT: The San Rafael Swell is a great place to have this event. Much of the event is surrounded by public lands. The San Rafael Swell is one of the most scenic desert areas in the State of Utah. This area was first settled in 1879-1880, by Mormon Pioneers. Prior to the Mormons coming to Emery County, this area was inhabited by Fremont and Ute Native Americans.

CW: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

SRCT: Members of the Emery County Search and Rescue appreciate your support for this event that is a huge benefit to all visitors of the San Rafael Swell and the Manti National Forest.

Event details:

July 13-14, 2018 — San Rafael Classic Triathlon, Huntington, UT, Huntington State Park, Olympic distance tri, Olympic team relay, Sprint Tri, Sprint team relay, spring swim/bike duathlon, sprint bike/run duathlon, youth tri. Friday night activities offer live music during the pasta dinner. Body marking and packet pickup available Friday night. Camping available. Reservations necessary to ensure campsite. Held on a closed course. This will be Sheriff’s Funk last triathlon. Special prizes and awards will be issued to the athletes, Wade Allinson, 435-609-3126, [email protected],


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