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Troika Triathlon sees big changes

Everything is in place – one place – for this year’s Troika Triathlon.

The 33rd annual event on May 18 will start and finish in the same spot, giving family and friends a better opportunity to cheer their favorite athletes. Instead of ending in Spokane, the 70-mile swim, bike and run will end about 50 feet from where it starts at Medical Lake Waterfront Park.

“It will be a lot more spectator-friendly,” race director Scott Ward said. “We did a survey, and we’ve had some complaints that family and friends couldn’t see it. Now you’re going to see people leaving for the swim, leaving for the bike, and the athletes will see their family or friends multiple times on the run.”

After a 1.2-mile swim on Medical Lake, the athletes will ride southwest, 56 miles out and back, almost to the town of Sprague. The bike course will be a “a bit flatter” than last year, Ward said.

The 13.1-mile run is a three-lap affair around the lake and onto the hill on the west side of the lake.

Keeping everything close also helps attract more volunteers. This year’s race will include 30 percent more aid stations, Ward said.

“But we’re always looking for more volunteers,” said Ward who said interested parties can apply at

Perhaps the biggest change is the date. The event has been contested in August, partly to cater to the Canadian Ironman event. But with the nearby Coeur d’Alene Ironman taking place in June, it made sense to move Troika up three months.

The move to Saturday is designed to attract churchgoers who’ve skipped the the event in the past.

Last year’s race drew 205 entries. Ward would like to see 300.

“I don’t think we’ll hit that this year, but 300 would be a great number,” Ward said.

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