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Des Moines Prepares for Triathlon's Championship Weekend


On Labor Day weekend, Iowa's capital city will once again become the center of the triathlon world as kids, adults and professionals vie for national championships.

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DES MOINES, IA - Gray's Lake in Des Moines is preparing to take its place on the international stage this Labor Day weekend when the Hy-Vee Triathlon returns for a seventh exciting year.

For the first time, Gray's Lake will serve as host venue for the entire event - swim start, transition and finish line. All three races that comprise the Hy-Vee Triathlon - the Elite Cup for professionals, the 5150 U.S. Championship for qualifiers, and the Hy-Vee Triathlon open event - will be contested at the same time over the same course on Sunday, September 1st.

Darin Hirl, event director for the Hy-Vee Triathlon, said these are changes athletes and spectators will welcome.

"In the past, athletes and spectators had to move between different start and finish venues, which led to some logistical challenges," Hirl said. "With the age-group races in the morning and the professional races in the afternoon, it made for a very long day. This year, by centering the race action at Gray's Lake, we're creating a more exciting, fan-friendly experience."

Hirl said the professional triathletes - 30 men and 30 women, drawn from among the top international stars in multisport - will take to the water at Gray's Lake beginning at 6:45 a.m. on Sunday, September 1st and will be the first to cross the finish line that morning. They will be vying for a total prize purse of $500,000, with $100,000 winners' checks to the top male and female in the field.

Hirl said total registrations for the 2013 Hy-Vee Triathlon are running about even with last year, which saw a record 3,000 athletes of all ability levels take part in the event. In addition, more than 1,000 young triathletes ages 6-15 from throughout North America are expected at Gray's Lake on Saturday, August 31st for the Hy-Vee IronKids U.S. Championship. Together, the two events account for several million dollars of economic benefit to the Des Moines metro area.

"The Hy-Vee Triathlon and Hy-Vee IronKids championship have put Des Moines on the international multisport map," Hirl said. He noted that a number of publications have rated the Des Moines event among the best in the world at any distance, including a No. 2 ranking this year on a list compiled by Examiner.com.

For more information on the Hy-Vee Triathlon visit: www.hy-veetriathlon.com