GREENVILLE — If you go down to Baldwin Lake on any day during the summer you are highly likely to see people walking, running and biking around the lake and swimming at the beach. On Saturday morning the area will be transformed into a triathlon race course where athletes from 7 years old to 68 will arrive to prove to themselves that they can make it to the finish line or get there faster than the rest.
The Chemical Bank Tri Greenville triathlon will begin at 8 a.m. at the Baldwin Lake Beach with a one-quarter mile swim. Groups of swimmers will be started in intervals and the associated splashing with the group start is a sight to behold.
As athletes reach the shore they will run into the parking lot where their bikes will have been hung on racks. They will grab their bikes, helmets and shoes and go onto an 11.8 mile road course surrounding Greenville and return to the parking lot. There they will hang their bikes on the rack and go for a 3.1 mile run on a course along Baldwin and Manoka Lakes before finishing again at the beach to a celebration of their accomplishment.
The Spectrum Health United and Kelsey Hospital’s Kids Triathlon will begin at 11 a.m. with shorter courses for kids from 11 to 15 immediately followed by the 7- to 10-year-olds. There are nearly 50 young athletes training for this event.
Spectators are encouraged to come for one or both events and cheer from a birdseye view above the beach from the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail. A large part of the race will be visible from this vantage point, with the exception of the adult bike and the younger kids’ run portions.
The event will be a celebration of Greenville and her beauty and the positive spirit in her people, which goes along with the “I can do that” attitude of the triathletes. There are over 200 people registered. About half are from the immediate area and several are coming from out of state; one athlete is even coming from Hawaii. Some are new to the sport while some are seasoned veterans.
For those who come to watch, parking is available near Maplewood and Meijer Drive behind the Meijer store. The spectator area will be accessible via the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail. For the safety of both the athletes and the residents of the lakes area, all roads near the lakes, including the boat launch, will be closed until 1 p.m.
The adult bike portion of the event will follow South Street to M-91; south on M-91 to Baker Road; west on Baker to Kieber; west on Kieber to Morgan Mills; north on Morgan Mills to M-57; east on M-57 to Satterlee; south on Satterlee to Baldwin Road and Baldwin Road back to the lake area and the Beach. Athletes will be on the bike course beginning shortly after 8 a.m. and likely continue until approximately 10 am. These roads will not be closed to traffic, but the public is asked to exercise extra care when approaching bicyclists. The cyclists are also instructed to obey the rules of the road during the race.
There are more than 150 area volunteers eager to help these athletes have a safe, enjoyable experience. Spectators can join in by coming down to the spectator area or elsewhere along the course to cheer and encourage friends, neighbors, co-workers and visitors in their endeavor.
Cow bells are available for $3 at area businesses including Chemical Bank, Greenville Community Center & Recreation Departments, City Hall, Ace Hardware, Movie Tyme Video, S&H Trophy and Snap Fitness. There may still be some available on race day at the Spectator Area. More information about the event can be obtained at www.trigreenville.com or on the Tri Greenville Facebook page.