Aug 242011

By Naomi Hatch–

The first triathlon comes to Snowflake/Taylor on Saturday, Sept. 3, in conjunction with the Taylor Sweet Corn Festival.

“We realize that there is an incredible population that has an interest in the race,” said organizer Drew Griffin.

The Sweet Tri has a great course that showcases the communities of Snowflake and Taylor, and all proceeds will go to finance and improve the Snowflake swimming pool, Griffin explained.

This is USA Triathlon sanctioned sprint event that begins with the swimming event, where 12 swimmers at a time will swim the 10½ laps or 525 meters. Contestants will then transition to a 13.1-mile bike ride that will follow a route down Main Street to Paper Mill Road in Taylor, then down Centennial Road and back to the pool, where runners will run the 3.1 miles on the beautiful historic, tree-lined streets of Snowflake. For detailed information on the route, go online to

“This sprang from training partner Jeremy Neff and I training for a triathlon,” said Griffin, noting that they traveled to the Show Low pool until the Snowflake pool opened. “We thought what a neat benefit it is to our community.” They realized how hard it must be to be on the ropes every year with the threat of shutting down due to the pool building’s roof and boiler. “The idea came that we can put on a triathlon,” said Griffin.

He and Neff, along with many others, donated time to organize the event and there are many volunteers that will help with the event. There are 13 businesses, most of which are local, which have donated to the cause, more than any triathlon on the mountain but one, according to Griffin. “Businesses have come out in incredible fashion to support us,” he said.

There have been more than 500 hits a month on the website, and most registrations are coming from the Valley, with three out-of-state so far. The youngest contestant to date is 15 and the oldest is 66.

A non-profit organization called White Mountain Endurance Sports was organized, with Sterling Solomon donating time as attorney and Scott Crosby donating time as accountant. “It’s a big hearted effort by lots of people and businesses in this community,” said Griffin.

“I’ve been shocked and overwhelmed by the reception we’ve received from people,” said Griffin. “This will be attached to the Sweet Corn Festival, and as part of that we’re having the T-shirts and medals geared that way.”

They anticipate this will bring a lot of business to the Sweet Corn Festival and to local business with all of the people coming to town since it is sanctioned by the USA Triathlon, which is the governing body for triathlons in the United States.

There will be special awards to the fastest local biking, swimming and running times. “I think the public will be excited to see this,” said Griffin.

Swimming is the first event and begins at 7 a.m. at the Snowflake pool. “We’ll be filling lanes as they empty,” said Griffin.

“We’re going to try to put those who feel they’re in competition for the overall win of the race in the first heat so they have the opportunity to race side by side with some of those people they compete with.

“We’ve had a wonderful volunteer outreach, as well, with lots of people who have and will donate time to this race,” said Griffin.