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Staff Reporter 

WunderWoman triathlon is a wondrous event

Crunch Time


It’s normal to see people at Waterfront Park on the weekend. It’s a good place for families to have a picnic in the early afternoon or to do some swimming.

This past weekend I was surprised to see over 600 women from all over the Inland Northwest — along with their families and friends — at the park, just as the sun was coming up, for this year’s WunderWoman triathlon, on Sunday, Aug. 17.

The triathlon began with the Olympic Distance competitors swimming 1,200 meters in the lake. The second leg of the race was a 40K bike ride south on State Route 902 and into Malloy Prairie Road before making a left on Clear Lake Road.

The final part of the race was a 10K run on the asphalt trails through Medical Lake.

Athletes who competed in the Sprint Distance group only had a quarter-mile swim, a 10.2-mile bike ride and a three-mile run.

As a man, I was inspired as I watched these women in all age groups giving it their all. I too became one of the spectators, cheering on over 600 strangers as they raced across the finish line.

The triathlon wasn’t just an event for these women to show off their mettle. Marla Emde, of Emde Sports, said the event aimed to raise awareness of the need for bone health. All proceeds go to local bone health education through Washington Osteoporosis Coalition.

“This event continues to build year after year,” Emde said.

The day before the triathlon, men, women and children participated in the Strides for Strong Bones three-mile run/walk through the park. The fun run drew men, women and athletes from around the Northwest including Kearan Nelson, a Central Valley high school cross-country runner.

“I’m always looking for 5Ks to run and I learned about this race,” Nelson said. “I like that we’re running for osteoporosis (awareness).”

Learning that the triathlon and the fun run raised money and awareness toward a cause like osteoporosis was a refreshing break from the videos of people dumping ice on their heads that are flooding the internet.

I’m not knocking anyone who has given money to the ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) Association, especially those who donated and take the bucket of ice.

ALS, also known as Lou Gerhig’s disease, is something we should be raising awareness about. However, there are other avenues — more productive — for us to donate money to a charity or a cause than just dumping a bucket of ice on our heads.

Training to run a 5K race may not be easy — especially for those like myself who don’t run a lot, which I hope to change — but you’re still raising money and awareness for a cause and it goes toward benefiting your health. You’re also not wasting water during a time when areas of the country are going through a drought. There are races benefiting charities happening throughout the year — you just have to find one.

Something that peaked my interest at the triathlon were the several educational opportunities for folks to learn about bone health.

There was a panel discussion, a question and answer session following with experts on osteoporosis.

For adults over the age of 30 years old, there was a free ultrasound heel bone density screening.

It’s easy to overlook educational opportunities like this, especially if you’re tired after finishing a long race. But if you’re given a chance to not only give money to a charity, but also receive some free education on how you can better your health, you should take it.

Like many events held in Medical Lake over the summer, the triathlon had hundreds of folks from outside of the community.

Down the road, maybe the city could find ways to bring some of the athletes and their families into the community to enjoy some of the local restaurants in the downtown area like the Baja Mexican Restaurant or Pizza Factory.

Al Stover can be reached at


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