Swimmers dive in at a past WHY triathlon held at Blue Lake. The swim portion of the Lucky Triathlon will take place in Horseshoe Lake in Woodland. 

Vancouver-based WHY Events is hosting its first-ever Lucky Triathlon in Woodland this weekend. Runners from all around the country will come to the city to run, bike and swim in multiple events. All races in the Lucky Triathlon will start and end at Horseshoe Lake park in Woodland. 

Organizers are kicking off their Woodland event with a special focus on involving younger generations with a kids triathlon and by allowing kids to run in the sunset 5K and 10K. 

“A really big mission for us is trying to get kids off their electronic devices and being active and showing them that racing is fun,” said Sherri McMillan, race director and “Motivational Mama” for WHY Events. 

The kids triathlon is free (12 and under) and the WHY staff and volunteers do their best to treat participants just like the adults.

 “We want to make it accessible to people so they can come and do the kids tri and sort of ‘get the bug,’” McMillan said. 

The Lucky Triathlon was formed out of an event WHY used to host at Blue Lake Park in Portland. Due to the unknown water quality in the month of August, planning the event at Blue Lake became a hassle, so it was moved to Woodland. 

“It’s a really epic venue for a triathlon course,” McMillan said of Woodland and Horseshoe Lake. “Horseshoe lake is the perfect venue for a swim, we found a really gorgeous, amazing flat-fast bike course and the run course is along the Lewis River.”

Among the slate of Sunday events is a “My First Tri” event for those looking to try out a smaller triathlon. 

“The swim is only a quarter of a mile so it’s much shorter and a lot less intimidating for someone who is nervous about swimming into the middle of a lake,” McMillan said. 

My First Tri will feature categories for every age group as well as categories such as Clydesdale men (220 pounds and over) and Athena women (165 pounds and over).

The triathlon also boasts a “friends and family” division described as “A non-competitive division for the Triathlon event created for the sole purpose of allowing participants of different ages and genders to swim in the same wave.” This category will not have any awards but allows for friends and family to race together if they wish. 


A younger swimmer heads toward the water at a past WHY triathlon held at Blue Lake. WHY offers a kids triathlon for free in an effort to help give kids the “running bug.” 

McMillan has been hosting racing events for 13 years. She created WHY Events five years ago after she began to host too many events for her training studio, Northwest Personal Training, to handle. Her favorite part of planning events is the finish line celebrations.

“I’m always excited about the finish line and being able to see the athletes cross the finish line with looks of joy and accomplishment,” she said. 

Participants will get a taste of McMillan’s love for finish line celebrations as Lucky Triathlon is hosting a BBQ, beer garden and live DJ. 

According to McMillan, funds from this event will primarily go to children’s programs at Woodland Public Schools and Woodland Action. 

“One of our key values as a company is giving back to the community,” she said. “We always look for who we can partner (with) where we can take our event and benefit our athletes but also benefit the community.”

Speaking of community, WHY Racing is still looking and accepting volunteers for the event and those interested in helping set up and take down tables and signs as well as pass out water for contestants can email volunteer@whyracing.com. For those wanting to run in the event, pre-registration is available at whyracingevents.com — cost to register depends on the event.

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