By Matthew McGuckin
A great city to host an even better event. If you’re looking for a getaway weekend to wrap into an unbelievable race, this is it.
With an abundance of local attractions, it’s easy to keep busy pre- and post-race in Kingston. If you’re looking for some low-key activities on the weekend you can take a boat tour in the thousand islands, visit the historic Kingston Penitentiary or Fort Henry, walk around Queen’s University campus or rent paddle boards and kayaks to paddle along the waterfront. You can also walk down Princess street and check out the Promenade event on the long weekend, where local stores bring merchandise out onto the street and plenty of entertaining events are happening (including a Crossfit competition). Also, with the highest number of restaurants per capita in Ontario, there are plenty of options to take in a nice pre-race meal. If you’re feeling like some heavy carb loading, check out Woodenheads for an amazing gourmet pizza and/or pasta (Pro tip: make a reservation). After the race you can reward yourself with some craft beer (Stone City has a great patio and some great eats) or some home-made ice cream at White Mountain or Mio Gelato.
The start and finish line, transition and registration area are set right on the waterfront in front of Kingston’s city hall (this makes for some pretty awesome pictures). K Town’s swim course will challenge your open water swimming ability if the water gets bit rough but this year the conditions were fantastic. You’ll start out by swimming across the channel towards Fort Henry – an old military fort that protected the city from intruders by water. The water temperature will be cool, which is a blessing given the early August heat.
The out and back bike course heads pretty much straight east and has a few small climbs that you should save some energy for. I would highly recommend pre-riding the bike course and even try to meet up with one of the local cycling clubs (one of them rides on Friday mornings) to show you around if you have time.
The run was by far the best part of the course. The run course winds along the Kingston waterfront trail taking you past the recently renovated (and very popular) Gord Edgar Downie Pier. After a short uphill you’ll reach the Portsmouth Harbor which sits right beside the old Kingston Penitentiary. There were plenty of feed stations, and excellent course markings for the entire course which made for a (relatively) stress free event. The volunteers were amazing, cheering at every feed station, offering plenty of hydration and nutrition options so no need to bring your own on the run.
I would highly recommend this event for experienced and inexperienced triathletes alike. Kingston has a lot to offer all weekend and the amazing course views and rich history of Kingston makes it an event that will keep you coming back. See you in 2020!