The Saint Croix Fat Cat Triathlon is a paddle, run and bike event created by Ross Brunfelt and presented by the Scandia Marine Lions Club. It purports to be one of the finest routes in the Midwest and July 9 will be its third installment. This year, racers will convene to the St. Croix River valley from areas as close as our hometowns of Scandia and Marine and from as far away as areas like Topeka, KS and Fargo, ND. Their ages vary from 12 to 75 years old and racers take part either individually, in tandem with a partner (paddling together in one watercraft and then running, biking individually) or as part of a three-person team where each takes one leg of the race.
Last year the overall men’s champion was Alex Reich with a time of 1 hour, 47 minutes and 37 seconds, while Ana Pratt took home the women’s title with a time of 2 hours, 19 minutes and 10 seconds. The course is approximately 20 miles beginning with a 3.5 mile paddle on the St Croix River from Log House Landing south around Greenburg Island and finishing near the boat landing in William O’Brien State Park. Racers then begin their challenging 5.5 mile run along the river, up the main hill and through beautiful sections of the Park’s trail system exiting the NW corner, then following Oxboro Ave. and Old Marine Trail around Sand Lake to the Lions Park. From there they mount the saddle and pedal 11 miles on a scenic route in and around Long, Big Marine, Fish, Hay, and Sand Lakes finishing back at Lions Park with a short foot sprint after dismounting.
“The scenery of Scandia says it all,” Brunfelt said in a press release. “Regardless of the awesome volunteerism, business sponsors, music and food, it’s that scenery that most participants comment on and ultimately brings them back each year.”
The race is unique in that it routes through both a National and State Park system that are widely recognized.
“Ultimately, we’d like to grow the event, but only to a sustainable point,” Brunfelt said in a press release. “We never talk about becoming the largest event, but only how can we tweak things each year to provide the participants the ultimate experience.”
This year it appears the race is on pace for around 180 racers and Brunfelt believes that perhaps some year they will have to cap entries.
“Time will tell, you know, there are so many different races and events around the Twin Cities each year; we’re just one of those many choices,” he said in a press release. “We are different than many in that we’re 100 percent volunteer-run and I think that also resonates with people. Not only do they get an enjoyable experience, the money they pay to raise goes right back into the communities and Lions causes after expenses are paid.”
Information about the event can be found on Facebook and www.stcroixfatcat.com. The race is held annually the second Saturday of July beginning at 8 a.m. Cost is approximately $60-80 depending on when and whether you sign up with partners. Cost includes two meals, a racer shirt, chip timing and a chance at some prizes drawn by bib number. Canoe/kayak rentals are available through registration site.