See photos of USA Triathlon along Milwaukee’s lakefront

Athletes spring toward the finish line.

Last updated on August 11th, 2021 at 01:43 pm

A record count of more than 6,000 athletes descended upon Milwaukee’s lakefront over the weekend to compete in the Toyota USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships.

The event took place Aug. 6, through Aug. 8, with the Olympic-distance race taking place Saturday and the shorter sprint-distance race on Sunday. About 10,000 spectators — mostly friends and family of participants — were in attendance, and the event was expected to generate an estimated $6 million in economic impact to the downtown area, according to VISIT Milwaukee.

Athletes hailed from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., as well as nine countries and five territories. Milwaukee native Annamarie Strehlow, 31, took the women’s overall Olympic-distance title in 2 hours, 7 minutes and 58 seconds. Strehlow, a physical therapist at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin, was recognized last year as one of BizTimes’ Notable Heroes in Health Care.

“It feels incredible to be here in Milwaukee and to be a champion in my hometown,” said Strehlow in a news release. “I saw my family out of the swim, out of the bike and out of the run. It’s one of the only races that I’ve had so much support, so that really pushed me to the finish.”

Benjamin Stone a 25-year-old from Indianapolis, Indiana took the men’s overall victory in 1 hour, 50 minutes, and 41 seconds.

Saturday’s Olympic-distance course began with a 1,500-meter swim in the Lake Shore State Park Inlet, followed by a 40-kilometer bike traversing the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge and the Lake Freeway, which were closed to traffic for the event. Athletes then completed a 10-kilometer run through Veterans Park and Lincoln Memorial Drive, ending with a sprint down USA Triathlon’s red-carpet finish chute adjacent to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World. Sunday’s Sprint-distance race followed a shorter version of that course, with a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, and 5-kilometer run.

Most spectators gathered near the finish line and around the event’s main venue in front of the Milwaukee Art Museum. The venue included an expo area where a number of local and out-of-state vendors set up booths. The Bartolotta Restaurants handed out light meals to athletes after they completed the race. Attendees could also order food from local food trucks, including Riley’s Good Dogs and AJ’s Crunch and Munch LLC.

The event’s local partners included Advocate Aurora Health, Kapco, Molson Coors, Iron Joc, and Drink ZYN. 

This was the fourth time Milwaukee has hosted the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. The city played host in 2013, 2014 and 2015 and will again in 2022.

USA Triathlon joins a lineup of major sporting events on the horizon for southeastern Wisconsin, including the Ryder Cup, set for Sept. 21 to 26 at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan County; the U.S. Speedskating Olympic Long Track Team Trials at the Pettit National Ice Center in January 2022; and the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball First/Second Rounds at Fiserv Forum in March 2022. 

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Maredithe Meyer covers restaurants, retail, tourism, and sports and entertainment. She joined BizTimes in 2015, previously as an intern reporter. She earned a degree in journalism from Marquette University in 2017. When she's not on the job, Maredithe coaches field hockey and loves exploring her favorite city on earth, Milwaukee.

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