by Dennis Dalman
by Dennis Dalman
Now in its 38th year, the Sartell Apple Duathlon will take place once again in the city, starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, May 22, and – as always – city residents are encouraged to line the streets and cheer for participants.
The race, as in previous years, will begin at Sartell Riverview Intermediate School (formerly Sartell Middle School). This year, the Apple Duathlon will be the host of the North Central Regional Duathlon Championships.
The Sartell Apple Duathlon is a race that involves all ages and abilities, from elite runners/bikers to newcomers and children.
There are several races to suit all ability levels and ages. There is the main long-course race and a much shorter, 5k version of the main race, a sprint course for children and a youth relay.
The long-course race, which is sanctioned by USA Triathlon, is a three-phase activity that begins with a 5k run from and back to the school, then a 33k bicycle route from Sartell through the rolling hills of St. Stephen and then, back at the school, another 5k run.
Under various names and venues throughout the years, the race has attracted award-winning runners/bikers from throughout the United States and other countries.
The original race, dubbed the Apple Run which started in 1983, was part of a heart-health and nutrition-education promotion program in conjunction with the St. Cloud Hospital. Its founders were Daryl Stevens of Sartell and Rich Schwegel of St. Joseph. Races in those early years took place at St. Cloud’s Whitney Park.
A running portion of the race started in 1985, at which time the event was moved to Westwood Elementary School in St. Cloud.
In 1990, as participants increased, and the need for more space was crucial, the Apple Duathlon was moved to St. Francis Xavier School in Sartell and then later – for about two decades – to its current venue.
During most of those years, until 2008, Daryl Stevens and his wife, Pam, were co-directors of the race, which grew yearly in stature as one of the finest duathlons in the nation.
More recently, in 2009 and 2013, under the directorship of Brandon Testa of Sartell, the race became a qualifier for the World Duathlon Championship, attracting world-class elite athletes.
The Sartell Apple Duathlon supports a number of local groups that raise funds for athletics and other good causes. In addition, a portion of the proceeds from the 5k Family Fun Run event is donated to the Sartell High School Athletics Booster Club.
To find out more about the various races and to register for the event, google “Sartell Apple Duathlon,” then click on “Apple Duathlon: A multisport held in Sartell, MN.”