Last updated on August 9, 2021 at 3:10 p.m.
A record number of more than 6,000 athletes descended on Lake Milwaukee over the weekend to compete in the Toyota US National Age Group Triathlon Championships.
The event took place August 6-8, with the Olympic distance race taking place on Saturday and the shorter sprint distance race on Sunday. About 10,000 spectators – mostly friends and family of attendees – were in attendance, and the event is expected to generate an estimated $ 6 million economic impact in the downtown area, according to VISIT Milwaukee.
The athletes came from all 50 states and Washington, DC, as well as nine countries and five territories. Annamarie Strehlow, 31, from Milwaukee, won the women’s Olympic distance world title in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 58 seconds. Strehlow, physiotherapist at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, was recognized last year as one of BizTimes’ notable heroes in healthcare.
“It’s amazing to be here in Milwaukee and to be a champion in my hometown,” Strehlow said in a press release. “I saw my family out of swimming, off the bike and out of the run. It’s one of the only races where I had so much support, so it really pushed me at the finish.
Benjamin Stone, 25, from Indianapolis, Indiana, claimed the overall victory in the men’s race in 1 hour, 50 minutes and 41 seconds.
Saturday’s Olympic route began with a 1,500-meter swim in Lake Shore State Park Inlet, followed by a 40-kilometer bike ride across the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge and the Lake Freeway, which were closed to traffic for the ‘event. The athletes then completed a 10-kilometer run through Veterans Park and Lincoln Memorial Drive, ending with a sprint down the USA Triathlon red carpet finish chute adjacent to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World. Sunday’s Sprint distance race followed a shorter version of this course, with a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.
Most of the spectators gathered near the finish line and around the main event site in front of the Milwaukee Art Museum. The venue included an exhibition area where a number of local and foreign vendors set up booths. Bartolotta restaurants distributed light meals to athletes after finishing the race. Participants could also order food from local food trucks, including Riley’s Good Dogs and AJ’s Crunch and Munch LLC.
Local event partners included Defend Aurora Health, Kapco, Molson Coors, Iron Joc and Drink ZYN.
This was the fourth time Milwaukee has hosted the US National Age Group Triathlon Championships. The city was host in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and will be host again in 2022.
USA Triathlon joins a range of major sporting events on the horizon for Southeastern Wisconsin, including the Ryder Cup, slated for September 21-26 at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan County; the US Olympic long track speed skating team trials at the Pettit National Ice Center in January 2022; and the NCAA Division I men’s first / second round basketball at the Fiserv Forum in March 2022.