Cyclists prepare to start the Beginner Tri for MS at Saanich Comonwealth Place. The non-timed, preparatory triathlon is May 7 with the swim at Saanich Commonwealth Place and run and bike courses through the the West Saanich Neighbourhood.                                Connie Dunwoody Photo

Cyclists prepare to start the Beginner Tri for MS at Saanich Comonwealth Place. The non-timed, preparatory triathlon is May 7 with the swim at Saanich Commonwealth Place and run and bike courses through the the West Saanich Neighbourhood. Connie Dunwoody Photo

Saanich hosts beginner triathlon May 7

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first triathlon or your 101st, the Beginner Tri for MS is for all levels of athlete.

The fifth annual triathlon happens on Sunday, May 7, at Saanich Commonwealth Place. The event is non-timed and completely geared towards newcomers, with participants invited to go at their own pace.

That said, plenty of first timers are ready to hit the pool for a 500-metre swim to start the triathlon. That’s followed by a 17.5-kilometre bike course (two laps of eight kilometres through West Saanich) and a 4k run/walk loop to Beaver Lake and back.

“It’s what we call a super sprint,” said race director Carolyn Gebbie. “It’s aimed at beginners but it’s open to anyone, it’s a great tune up race or comeback race, you don’t have to be a beginner.

“People can go at their own pace, if their pace is fast, that’s fine, if it’s slow, great.”

Participants should be aware registration closes May 3 at 11:59 p.m. and there is no same-day registration on site.

There is a relay team option for people who want to get introduced to the sport in a low stress way.

Since the race started in 2013 it’s raised more than $68,000 for the MS Society of Victoria.

About 100 people do the race each year, with some coming from as far as Saskatchewan, and about half of them coming through the local TriStars Training triathlon group. TriStars runs a unique triathlon program during the year based at Saanich Commonwealth Place through Saanich Recreation.

The May 7 race offers prizes for the top fundraisers, and for every $50 raised fundraisers are entered to win a new bike. You don’t have to be a participant in the race to take part in the fundraising.

The race benefited MS Society of Victoria from the start as there were TriStars members with MS or members whose lives were connected to it.

Visit tristarstraining.com/beginner-tri-for-ms to register.

reporter@saanichnews.com