West Linn to host swim, bike, run event on Aug. 18 at Willamette Park

West Linn will host a Series 33 Triathlon on Aug. 18. Organizers hope it is only the beginning of a tradition.

"West Linn is a great place for a race like this," said Mark Buser of Johnstone Financial Advisors, sponsor of the event.

There are five new triathlons scheduled altogether for this area, including events at Mt. Hood, Estacada, Vancouver and Xterra in Portland. But none of the other host cities are as scenic as West Linn or will offer the special challenge of holding the bicycle portion of the race over hills.

To Buser and Ken McClarty, Series 33 director, that is all good.

"No other place presents such a challenging course," said Buser, a West Linn resident who has been competing in triathlons for the past three years. "This is obviously a great way to showcase West Linn."

McLarty wanted to bring a triathlon to West Linn because he has long loved to swim at Willamette Park, which is the location for the swimming portion at the start of the race as well as the finish line for the running portion.

"It's an awesome place. It's a quaint community," McLarty said. "It has the best bike course in our area."

West Linn is part of McLarty's big triathlon dream.

"I wanted to have new venues," he said. "Before this year there were only a few triathlon events in this area, one at Haag Lake and a couple at Blue Lake. I've been wanting to do this for several years."

Buser is confident the West Linn triathlon will have a great start and grow from there.

"I would be thrilled if we get 150 competitors," he said. "We want people to go away saying, 'West Linn is great! I've got to do that again!' If you have a good race, the word will get out. After we've been established for three to five years, I would expect to have 400 to 500 competitors.

"My goal is for our event to go off without a hitch and that no one gets lost. When people get lost on the bike course they tend not to come back. It would be ideal to have 60 to 70 volunteers. We're also putting out the call to West Linn merchants to be vendors. We also want vendors who offer wellness and massage services."

McLarty said some outstanding triathletes are expected to compete in West Linn, including Jeff Smith ("He's won every event around here for the last two years,") Josh Monda, Nate Youngs, Giovanna Matic and Miranda Smith.

There will be many first-time triathletes, too.

"We'll have lots of newcomers," Buser said. "The sport has become very popular. Someone getting into the triathlon for the first time is what it's all about."

On Aug. 18 competitors will start gathering at 7 a.m. The race will start at 8:30 a.m. Along the route there will be excellent places for spectators to view the event.

"We want to see this triathlon come back every year," Buser said.

Course information includes: swim — half mile in the Willamette River; bike — 12.4 miles, which includes a 1.2 mile climb just 400 meters into the race; run — 3.1 miles. Maps of all three segments of the race are included on the website.

For registration and more information about the West Linn Series 33 triathlon, go to

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