Swim Segment of Rotary Triathlon of Salem: Reschedule to 2018

September 27, 2017

To our Triathletes, Duathletes, and Volunteers:

Last night, I made the decision to cancel the swimming segment of the Rotary Triathlon of Salem. As I wrote last week, the late summer storm of September 17-20 resulted in elevated levels of bacterial contamination near the swim starting point at Salem’s Riverfront Park’s boat dock. Although water quality samples taken at the beginning of this week showed a significant decrease in contamination levels, an average of all samples taken since June still puts us right on the edge of numeric standards for safe swimming. With rain in the forecast for Race weekend, water quality will likely decrease again even as we are putting swimmers in the water. We have consistently told you that your safety is our top priority and we are making good on that promise.

I know this news comes as a disappointment. I will add that although I received excellent advice from many, the decision was mine alone and I have no doubt that it was the correct course of action. If you would like to discuss it further and in more detail, feel free to come see me on Race Day.

Here is what will happen:

All duathlons will consist of a Run/Bike/Run sequence.

For our Olympic triathletes, you will become Olympic duathletes and compete alongside the already-registered, pre-planned Olympic duathletes. The course now includes a 5k run followed by a bike course of slightly less than 40 km* and concluded with a 10k run.

For our Sprint Triathletes, we have created a Sprint Duathlon event consisting of a 5k run, a bike ride of a little less than 20 km* and concluded with a 5k run.

* Note that because the starting point for the bike riders will now be at Riverfront Park (originally Wallace Marine park), the distances will be a little shorter than the standard 20 km and 40 km (measured change is 1.04 miles).

If you or your team members signed up specifically for the triathlon and you prefer not to compete as duathletes this year, you are welcome to notify the good folks at RegToRace and we will credit your registration for next year’s event.

If you signed up as a volunteer to support the swim event and no longer have an assignment, you are most welcome to come to the event, perhaps be reassigned, but to certainly receive your Volunteer T-shirt and enjoy the food and festivities.

Regarding next year’s Rotary Triathlon of Salem….

We have every intention of being back. And, we are planning on conducting the swim event in the Willamette River. The water quality sampling we did during this summer showed us two things. First, it is not a good idea to swim during or immediately after a large storm event — particularly in the Willamette Slough. Second—and more importantly to the triathlon community—under most conditions between June and September the Willamette River is an excellent and safe venue for the swimming segment of a triathlon. We hope to find a date for the triathlon earlier in the summer and are already looking at various options for the swim route. I will add that were it not for the eclipse in August, this year’s Rotary Triathlon of Salem would have occurred earlier and that particular schedule conflict will not recur for some time.

Again, I wish you a safe, successful, and fulfilling experience on October 1.

Best regards,

Robert Chandler, Chair

2017 Rotary Triathlon of Salem