2018 Clydesdale/Athena USAT National Championship

The Grand Rapids Triathlon is proud to announce that our event has been chosen as the only triathlon in the US to host the 2018 USAT Clydesdale/Athena National Championships in all three distances.

Q: What is a Clydesdale/Athena?
A: A Clydesdale is a male athlete weighing 220+ pounds. An Athena is a female athlete weighting 165+ pounds

Q: Will I have to weigh in to qualify for the National Championship?
A: Yes, all athletes who register as Clydesdale/Athena will have to weigh in at packet pick up in order to race in that category and compete in the National Championship. Weigh in procedure will go as follows:
– Clydesdale/Athena athletes will be weighed by Metro Health Sports Medicine staff when they collect their packets on Saturday, June 9th.
– Those athletes weighing 5+ pounds over the minimum Clydesdale/Athena weight limit will be ready to race on Sunday, no additional steps to follow.
– Those athletes weighing within 5 pounds of the minimum requirements will be given a slip informing them of weigh in procedure the following morning pre-race. These athletes WILL BE REQUIRED to attend a morning weigh in on the race site before beginning their wave. They will weigh in wearing their race kit at a tent near the swim start that will be clearly labeled.
– Any athletes who do not make weight either at packet pick-up or the following morning and those athletes who do not weigh in either at packet pick-up or do a re-weigh when required on race day will automatically be changed to Age Group and will still race, but not as part of the National Championship. They will not be eligible for National Championship awards.
-Athletes not making the minimum weight at packet pick-up will have to change their event at the registration change table at packet pick up and will be placed in the Age Group category, they will not be able to re-weigh and will not be considered part of the National Championship

Metro Health Weigh in Instructions

Q: What are Clydesdale/Athena Age Groups?
A: Clydesdales/Athenas will be recognized as follows
Clydesdale: 39 and under, 40-59 (Masters), 60 and over (Grand Masters)
Athenas: 39 and under, 40-54 (Masters), 55 and over (Grand Masters)

Q: What are Clydesdale/Athena Awards?
A: All Clydesdales/Athenas participating in the Grand Rapids Triathlon will receive finisher medals from the GR Tri. Those placing in the top 3 overall (male/female) in each distance will receive a plaque from the GR Tri signifying them as overall winners. Those placing top three in each group will also receive a winners plaque. USAT will provide winners jerseys to first place finishers in each distance from each age group. Top three finishers in each age group in each event will also receive a winners medal from USAT.

All Clydesdale/Athena athletes will also receive a finisher gift from the Grand Rapids Triathlon. All Half Distance finishers will receive a GR Tri Half Finisher hat. Sports Tats will also be provided to all National Championship athletes free of charge in their race packets.

Q: Will I be placed with other Clydesdales/Athenas?
A: Yes, you will go off in the same wave as all the athletes competing in your division at your distance. You will all be racked in a similar location. Grand Rapids Tri bibs are color coded to be event specific. All bibs will have a blue band with the USAT Nationals logo printed on it sprint bibs will be white, Olympic bibs will be light blue, Half bibs will be red. There will be no specific body markings indicating part of the National Championship, Bibs will be the best way to indicate which athletes you are competing against.


After reviewing, if you have additional questions, please call Andy Vidro Co-Director at: 616.805.3059 or email at andy@tris4health.com.



Q: What are the distances of each leg of the race for Sprint, Olympic, and Half-Iron distances?
A: Sprint – Swim: 600 Meters, Bike: 20K, Run: 5K
Olympic – Swim: 1500 Meters, Bike: 40K, Run: 10K
Half-Iron – Swim: 1.2 Miles, Bike: 56 Miles, Run: 13.1 Miles

Maps of Courses and Interactive Maps can be found here.

Road Closures

Q: What roads are going to be closed on race day?
A: Buttrick will be closed from Ada Drive to Grand River Drive so you will be fine to turn right onto Grand River Drive and get to Ada Moorings entrance. Also, there will be officers directing traffic at every traffic light and intersection.

Swim Portion

Q: Are we swimming in a river?
A: Yes! The portion of the Thornapple River we are located at resembles a lake; therefore, the current is minimal.

Q: What should I expect in terms of water temperature?
A: Historically, the Thornapple River is in the mid-70’s. In 2014, it had a 10 degree jump in one week, and was recorded at 72 degrees on race day.

  • 2016 Race Day Water Temp – 73 degrees
  • 2017 Race Day Water Temp – 71 degrees

Q: Will there be only one heat for the swim starts for each of the distances?
A: No, there will be multiple waves for the swim start, depending on race age, gender, and distance. The Sprint event will also offer a “newbie” wave in for those who have never done a triathlon before or want a less competitive wave.

Q: Will there be a pro or elite wave?
A: No, the Grand Rapids Triathlon does not offer an elite or pro division. This allows any athlete to be eligible to win the cash purse.

Nutrition/Aid Stations

Q: What will be offered at the aid stations for the run and bike portion for the Half Iron? For the bike will aid stations be on both sides of the road or just the right side?
A: For the Half-Iron distance, fuel in the form of liquid and gel along with water will be offered at the run. Liquid fuel (no gel) and water will be offered at the bike. Aid stations will be available both out and back on the course.

Run aid stations are every 1.25 miles and 15 miles on the bike (bike aid stations are only on the Half Iron distance course). Fruit, pretzels, Gatorade, Pepsi, water and other snacks will be available at the run course aid stations. Half Iron run will also offer Hammer Gel.

Q: Will food be available after the event?
A: Yes, additional fuel and food will be available post-race near the finish line.

Olympic and Sprint distances will have water  and Gatorade available at the run aid stations.

Q: How far apart are the run aid stations?
A: Aid stations are every mile on the run course.

Q: On the bike portion will there be someone there to ”exchange” water bottles or do you stop and fill up?
A: Volunteers will hand you a bottle running like a crazy person to keep up with you while you grab it. The bottle exchange is located at approximately mile 10 on the bike. For safety purposes of both the volunteer and athlete, YOU MUST SLOW TO 5 MILES PER HOUR or a bottle exchange will not be attempted.

To see a full menu of items available at the aid stations and finish line on race day check out the Aid-Station-Menu (PDF)

Transition Area

Q: Are bike racks in transition pre-assigned or first come, first serve?
A: Bike racks will be assigned by bib number.

Q: How far will we be running to get our bikes?
A: Approximately 25 yards from swim to transition.

Q: Where will the transition area be located?
A: Bike racks will be staged on Buttrick between Thornapple and Grand River Drive.

Q: Can we drop off our bike the day before the race?
A: Due to road closure constraints, we cannot stage until the morning of the event.

Q: Will there be security in the transition area?
A: Yes, security personal will be posted at all entrances into transition. No spectators will be allowed into transition and all athletes race and bike numbers will be checked ensure security of equipment.

Packet Pick-Up

Q: Is registration still available in person at the packet pick-up today?
A: Yes, registration will be open. You will still need to bring a valid form of identification (drivers license, etc.)

Q: Can I pick up my packet on race day?
A: No, there is not race day packet pick up!  Only those who make arrangements in advance will have their packets available on the race site on race day. In order to make arrangements for race day pick up, please contact Lori at lori@tris4health.com

Q: I will be out of town on packet pick-up, can someone else pick up my packet for me?
A: No, per USAT regulation, only you are able to pick up the packet, as we check your ID. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTION TO THIS. If you need to make arrangements for picking up your packet at an alternate time please contact Lori at lori@tris4health.com 

Wet Suits

Q: Is there a list of approved wet suits put out by USAT?
A: The new regulation, which falls under Article 4.4 Wetsuits of the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules, states: Effective January 1, 2013, any swimmer wearing a wetsuit with a thickness measured in any part greater than five millimeters shall be disqualified.”

Q: What kind of wetsuits do we have to wear, sleeveless or with sleeves?
A: The type of wetsuit is not mandatory but depending on water temp, we recommend with sleeves!

Q: Where can we rent wetsuits?
A: You can rent a wetsuit for $30.00 (on average) at these locations: Striders.
*We recommend you renting the wetsuit at least one week before the race, so you are able to give it a test drive, and get used to the feel swimming in it. If you would like more information on wetsuits, check out beginnertriathlete.com.

Q: Any suggestions on preventing neck irritation from the wet suit?
A: Try Body Glide or similar products.


Q: Will there be awards for everyone?
A: Yes, everyone shall receive a finisher’s medal at the end of the race! Those who place 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their age group will receive an additional award. Those who place 1st, 2nd or 3rd overall will receive cash prizes along with an award.

Q: I couldn’t make the awards ceremony, will they be mailed to us, or will we have to pick them up somewhere?
A: Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony after each distance. You do not have to wait for the ceremony. Please make sure you pick your award up by the end of race day. If you did not get your award on race day, please contact Jim Vidro at jevidro@gmail.com. You can make arrangements to pay the shipping to have it sent to you.

Q: Is the prize purse awarded to overall top 3 individuals of each distance?
A: For every race distance a prize purse will be awarded to the top 3 individuals (both male and female).


Q: When will the results be posted?
A: Preliminary results and semi live tracking are available during the event. These can be accessed by clicking on the  “Athlete Tracking” or “Results” buttons on our website home page.

Q: Will there be online tracking of the racers?
A: Usually there will be semi-live tracking of each athlete. Your spectators will be able to track when you finish each discipline and when you move from each transition to the next discipline.


Q: Where can we park?
A: Athletes and spectators can park at the below locations. There will be trolleys available every 15 minutes to pick you up and drop you off at the ”Athlete Drop Off” area.
• Amway
• Vitale’s Parking Lot
• Bank Parking Lots
• Parking lot past Grand River Drive



Q: What is the weather like in Ada this time of year?
A: Check out the Weather page of our website for details of the weather history for past years.

Q: What was the water temperature like in West Michigan in June?
A: The official water temperature for the 2017 Grand Rapids Triathlon was 68 degrees. In all past years the water has been wetsuit legal and in general in the 70’s. There have been athletes every year who have chosen to participate without a wet suit.

Q: What will happen if there is bad weather before/during the event?
A: For complete information regarding how bad weather will be handled download our Inclement Weather Policy – Download Weather Policy – PDF

Area & Location

Q: I am not from the area- where in Grand Rapids is the race location?
A: The race is actually located in the village of Ada and flows into Cascade just 10 minutes east of Grand Rapids. You can find partner hotels on our site under Lodging and maps under About the Area tab.


Grab your friends or family and get them involved with the sport you enjoy! The Grand Rapids Triathlon offers relays in every triathlon distance (there are no relays for  Aquabike events). In a relay, each person completes one or two legs of the event depending on the number of people on the team. Once they complete their portion of the event, they hand off the chip to the next team member in the relay.

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding relay’s:

Q: Do all three people have to be present at packet pickup?
A: Yes, all members of relay teams must be present to get their packet. You all need to show ID and sign a USAT waiver. You do not need to come together as your packet will be divided up based on discipline. So each of you can collect those portions that apply to the leg of the race you are doing.

Q: How does the chip exchange work?
A: We have a relay chip exchange coral located at end of the transition area. The receiving team member waits here for the hand off of the chip.

Q: Can the other team members wait in transition?
A: No – all relay team members must wait in the relay chip-exchange coral. Only the relay member doing the bike portion will be in the transition area.

Q:  Is there a separate location for the chip exchange for the swim/bike exchange and the bike/run exchange?
A: No – all chip exchanges take place in the same chip exchange coral.

Q: Can one person do more than one leg of the relay?
A: Yes, two or three people can be a team in a relay and one person could do two of the disciplines.

Q: Can you mix male/female teams?
A: Yes, our relay teams are mixed and can consist of male/female if you choose.

Q: Can you mix age groups for teams?
A: Yes, our relay teams are not separated by age group.

Q: How are the awards determined?
A: Awards are given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall for relay’s. We do not divide out age or gender.

Q: Do all team members receive a schwag bag, t-shirt and medal?
A: Yes, each team member is treated as any other athlete except for sharing the one chip.

Weather Cancellation Policy

Q: What will happen if bad weather causes the race to be canceled?
For information on what will happen in the event of inclement weather check out our Weather Cancellation Policy- Weather Policy (PDF)

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