For an inauguration, the triathlon at Stagecoach State Park on Sunday, June 29 did not feel like a first time event. The professional organization, preparation, and race day management made the first annual Tri the Boat triathlon seem like a walk in the park.  

With Heather Gollnick at the helm, however, no one expected anything different. Gollnick, a five-time Ironman champion and record holder for most wins of any current female triathlete, has definitely seen her fair share of three legged events. Gollnick’s triathlon career has led her all over the map, competing and winning over 200 multisport events in Wisconsin, Idaho, Arizona, Kentucky, and even Chile.

“Racing around the world as a professional triathlete doing top rate events as well as average events has definitely helped us construct the best race day experience possible,” Gollnick says.

The Tri the Boat Triathlon at Stagecoach Lake on Sunday, which included both half ironman and Olympic distance events, was just that: an incredible race day experience. More than 300 athletes, mostly non-Steamboat residents, braved the 60-degree waters of Stagecoach Lake to enjoy a beautiful and challenging course along the rolling hills of Routt Country. Triathletes who competed in the Olympic distance event completed a 1.5km swim, 40km bike, and 10km run while athletes competing in the half Ironman distance completed a 1.9km swim, 90km bike, and a 21km run.

“The race went off fantastic this year with over 300 in the first year event,” Gollnick said.  “We are making improvements, looking to grow Tri The Boat into a two-day event for 2015. The goal of all out GetFitFamily racing events is a fun, safe, and memorable experience for every athlete who gets to the start line.”

Gollnick, who only moved to Steamboat Springs with her family last December, is already made a drastic impact on the endurance and multisport communities in Steamboat Springs. She sets up clinics on nutrition, weight loss, and fitness; teaches swim lessons; and even coaches her own IronEdge triathlon team. With her knowledge and expertise as an athlete and certified coach, Gollnick is pushing to make triathlon a more popular and accessible sport within the mountain town. 

And with events like Tri the Boat, Gollnick is off to a solid start.