Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The late 80s and early 90s were the "Glory Years" for the sport of duathlon. The Coors Light Series was as popular as the USTS/BLTS (United States Triathlon Series / Bud Light Triathlon Series) back then.

By 2000 both the Dannon Duathlon Series and Powerman Alabama, the most prominent events on the national du landscape, began to visibly whither, and by 2004 the sport of duathlon in America appeared to have slipped into a coma.

In 2009, the sport seemed to wake up. Attendance at Nationals was heartening and new races are popping up here and there. Nowhere is the proliferation of duathlons more evident than right here in Minnesota.

Four years ago Minnesota was a "Triathlon State." The four run-bike-runs--Oakdale, Gear West, Apple and Iron Girl--that were on the calendar were generally perceived as waterless tris, contested on dates when local lakes were not swim-ready.

Today, our schedule features at least 13 dus. That's right: 13!

Don't believe it?

Check this out: Winter Be Gone, Cinco de Mayo, Falls Duathlon, Oakdale, Gear West, Apple, Du the Dam, Kingswood Off-Road, Minneapolis, Treadman, Cannon-Wells, Young Life and Osceola. There is also the possibility that the Duluth Duathlon will return in 2010.

Sure, the attendance at some of these events are small (less than 200 entrants), but trends suggest that they will grow. And some of these races are in the "good size" range e.g. Gear West, Oakdale, Apple, each drawing more than 400 participants. Two of our state's dus--Minneapolis and Iron Girl-- pull 4-digit fields.

To be continued...Coach and du advocate Jason Digman will assess the state of duathlon in America in future posts.