The unique Splash-N-Dash, a mix of running and swimming that has taken place at Veterans Memorial Park at Jack Lake for years, will be reborn, with a new name and new features, this summer.
On July 14, the Antigo Swim Club will host the inaugural MK Off-Road Triathlon, along with the classic duathlon, at Veterans Memorial Park at Jack Lake.
The club has hosted the MK Memorial Splash-N-Dash the past four years, and this year introduces the option for participants to compete in a triathlon.
The race was named in memory of Michelle Koss, a longtime advocate for health and fitness, who was killed while bicycling near her Bryant home in March of 2016. She created the Splash-N-Dash as a fund-raiser for the swim club and after her death it was renamed in her memory. The club also had a bench built in her honor near the beach at Jack Lake with her picture on it.
Money raised through the event has been used to support the varsity boys and girls swim programs, with a substantial portion earmarked for the swim club. Event organizers said they have been pleased with the amount of support they have been able to provide but are hoping to raise more money in the coming years to provide more opportunities for youth involved in swimming. That expansion may include starting a middle school swim team.
Racers can sign up to compete in the new triathlon race, consisting of a 500-meter swim, 15-kilometer bike, and a five-kilometer run, or the original Splash-N-Dash race, in which competitors will swim 500 meters, and then compete in a 5-kilometer run.
The two different races will take place at the same time, with the planning team working to ensure smooth transitions with the help of volunteers.
The 15-kilometer bike portion of the triathlon will take place largely on the newlybuilt offroad bike trails that wind through a majority of Veterans Memorial Park, with small straight-aways on Park Road. The rest of the course, both the swim and run segments, will be the same as the classic Splash-N-Dash course has been for the past few years.
The bike paths were built in 2017 by volunteers from the Langlade Area Mountain Bike Association. An additional children’s loop will be finished the coming few months, along with other trail improvements planned throughout the summer season.
Along with the introduction of a new race, the club is hoping to attract a wider cross section of the community this year with music, food, and beverage vendors to entertain racers and spectators during and after the conclusion of the races. The Optimist Club will be selling cheese curds, along with other food and beverage options, including signature brews provided by Oskar Blues, a microbrewery originating from Boulder, Colo. Oskar Blues was asked to help out with the event after Michelle Koss’ sister, Mary Lynn Russo, reached out to organizers of the event, offering some support from the company.
Through the month of May, participants can register online for the triathlon as part of a team for $75, individually for $50, the classic Splash-N-Dash as a team for $65, or individually for $35.Prices will increase with each month until the event, and then again on race day.
There is also a youth race for children ages 6-11, with those in the 6-8 year old age range swimming 25 yards, and running 1/4 mile, while those in the 9-11 age group will swim 50 yards, and run 1/2 mile. The youth race is available to sign up for $15 through May, June, and July, increasing to $20 on race day.
As well as complimentary entertainment during and after the event, all volunteers and racers will receive a free meal as well, along with more food and drinks for sale for spectators.
Those interested in volunteering for the event can contact Michelle Arlen by text or phone call at (715) 216-1004. More information, race details, and registration are also available online at mktriathlon.com.