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Triathlon Celebrates Women Athletes

By Barbara Schubring, Associate Director of Advancement
August 9, 2016
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Ninth Annual YWCA Women’s Triathlon at Lake Nokomis

Grandmothers, teenagers, CEOs, mothers, sisters, coworkers and friends converge to celebrate women’s fitness. More than 1,200 female athletes are registered for the Ninth Annual YWCA Women’s Triathlon. The race will draw an additional 3,500 spectators to Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis on August 14, 2016.

The largest all-women triathlon in the region attracts nearly half of its participants attempting their first triathlon. Triathletes swim 500 yards in Lake Nokomis, bike 15.5 scenic miles along the Minnehaha and River Road Parkways, and then run 5 kilometers on the paved trail circling Lake Nokomis to complete the race. The race was voted People’s Choice Race of the Year by Minnesota Tri News in 2012 and runner up in 2014 and 2015. Returning for the second year, the SuperSprint, is a race distance option perfect for beginners or those wanting to race a shorter distance. SuperSprint racers compete on a shorter course: 200-yard swim, 7-mile bike, 1-mile walk/run.

Ranging in age from 11 – 78, athletes represent both beginners and seasoned veteran triathletes and share the same course set against the beautiful backdrop of Minneapolis. The YWCA Women’s Triathlon has six times the number of women over the age of 50 than the largest triathlon in Minnesota. The YWCA Women’s Triathlon has nearly 300 women age 50+ registered to race. Women can participate in a buddy swim wave supported by lifeguards offering water noodles, race as part of a relay team, mother and daughter, sister or life partner competitions, or push themselves to their limits and race for age-group prizes.

YWCA runs a “green race”; more than 95% of waste from the event (600+ pounds) is diverted from landfills to compost and recycling. After five years at a diversion rate of 95%+, this year’s Women’s Triathlon is focused on an overall reduction in all waste produced, even organics and recycling.

Proceeds from the event will benefit YWCA Minneapolis, equipping people to create brighter futures for themselves. For more information, visit

Date and Time

Sunday, August 14, 2016

8:00 a.m.                         Triathlon start at Lake Nokomis

11:45 a.m.                        Awards ceremony (following final finisher)

Lake Nokomis, Minneapolis, MN         

Women Triathletes and Race Director

Kortney Haag, age 37, returns for a second year. The mother of two young boys and local elite athlete, Kortney mentioned how much she enjoyed the women-only aspect of the race after last year: “I didn’t think I’d appreciate that as much as I did, but there was just a different feel to this race – so much support from the other racers.  It felt amazing.”Kortney is coming off of foot surgery last fall and has worked with YWCA Minneapolis Coach Paul Johnson to help train for her circuit of triathlons.

Kathy Lentz, age 69, returns for a second year and will be racing with her granddaughter. Kathy is also returning as a member of the Peer to Peer Fundraising Team. She is sharing her own triathlon journey with family and friends, and asking for support for the YWCA’s powerful work. Kathy has already surpassed her fundraising goal this year.Her granddaughter helped convince her to participate again this year. This year Kathy is dedicating her triathlon experience in honor of some extraordinary women she admires, who are in varying degrees of healing from the death of loved ones, and in memory of their loved ones who have died in recent years.

Ellie Sandeen, age 12, is completing her second YWCA Women’s Tri. Ellie raced in the inaugural SuperSprint category last year and is excited to return to the competition this year to beat her time. The YWCA Women’s Tri is a family affair. Ellie was introduced to the Women’s Tri by her mother, Barbara Berdahl, who will be completing her fifth Women’s Tri on Sunday, August 14.

Choua Yang, age 30, returns for her fifth YWCA Women’s Tri. Choua has witnessed the growth of diversity within the race, but would like to see more women of color competing alongside her. “As a woman of color, diversity means a lot to me. During my first triathlon I did not experience a whole lot of women of color, but this past triathlon it was great to see more women of color and the different age groups, athletic abilities and sizes of women and girls compete! With me being Hmong, it’s always been important for me to expose the Hmong people to different sporting events.”

Nicole Cueno, race director, a distinguished runner who won 2015 Minnesota Runner of the Year and ran in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic marathon trials and multi-sport athlete and coach is available to talk about what sets apart the Women’s Triathlon from other races. She is available pre-race day and on site at the event.

YWCA Minneapolis is a nonprofit organization striving to empower women and girls and eliminate racism. YWCA Minneapolis has been empowering women and girls since 1891 and is a community leader in health and fitness.

Media Contact:

Barb Schubring
YWCA Minneapolis
(612) 215-4129