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Triathlete Frequently Asked Questions

General GR Tri Questions

What are the distances of each leg of the race for Super Sprint, Sprint, Olympic, and Half-Iron distances?

Super Sprint – Swim: 300 Meters, Bike: 10K, Run: 2.5K
– Swim: 600 Meters, Bike: 20K, Run: 5K
Olympic – Swim: 1500 Meters, Bike: 40K, Run: 10K
Half  – Swim: 1.2 Miles, Bike: 56 Miles, Run: 13.1 Miles

Maps of Courses and Interactive Maps can be found on our course maps pages.

What am I required to wear?

There are no requirements for clothing wore during the event, but you are required to wear a GRTri provided swim cap during the swim and an approved bike helmet during the bike portion. You may choose to wear a wetsuit or not. You may wear a one or two piece tri kit, you may wear a swimsuit, and put clothes over it, wear what you find comfortable keeping in mind there are no changing tents to use between disciplines. USAT has no rules regarding men wearing tops or at what level the zip is on your tri kit. Women must be covered appropriately, but are allowed to run in cropped shirts or sports bras.

Can my minor child participate on their own or as part of a relay team?

Children 12 and older can take part in the Super Sprint distances
Children 14 and older can take part in the or Sprint distances.
Children 16 and older can take part in the Olympic distances.
Adults 18 and older can take part in the Half distances.

If your child does not fall within those age ranges and would like to participate in an event or relay we ask that you reach out to The race directors will review the details you provide or may contact you to get more information to see if our event is a good/safe fit for your child. Decisions to make exceptions for these age restrictions will be made on a case by case basis depending on the kid’s experience and ability.

I am not from the area- where in Grand Rapids is the race location?

The race is actually located in the village of Ada and flows into Cascade just 10 minutes east of Grand Rapids. The transition area is located in Ada Park, with the event start at the boat launch located at the intersection of Thornapple River Dr. & Buttrick Ave. There is no on site parking. All athletes and spectators will park in downtown Ada and shuttle to the athlete drop off or walk/ride to Ada Park. Parking and shuttle information can be found on that page of our website. You can find partner hotels on our site under Lodging and maps under About the Area tab.

Where can we park?

Athletes and spectators can park at the below locations. There will be trolleys available every 15 minutes to pick you up and drop you off at the ”Athlete Drop Off” area.
• Amway
• Vitale’s Parking Lot
• Bank Parking Lots
• Parking lot past Grand River Drive

When will the results be posted?

Preliminary results and live tracking are available during the event. These can be accessed by clicking on the “Athlete Tracking” or “Results” buttons on our website home page. Please remember that the results appearing on the SportStats tracker app are not official results. This app is for tracking purposes only. Penalties have not been calculated into the times showing on the app.

Will there be online tracking of the racers?

Usually there will be live tracking of each athlete. Your spectators will be able to track when you finish each discipline and when you move from each transition to the next discipline.

Weather & Weather Cancellation Policy

What is the weather like in Ada this time of year?

Check out the Weather page of our website for details of the weather history for past years.

What was the water temperature like in West Michigan in June?

The official water temperature for the 2019 Grand Rapids Triathlon was 72 degrees. In all past years the water has been wetsuit legal and in general in the 70’s. There have been athletes every year who have chosen to participate without a wet suit.

What will happen if bad weather causes the race to be canceled?

For information on what will happen in the event of inclement weather, please review our Weather Policy (PDF).

Where/When is Packet Pick-up?

All details of the Grand Rapids Triathlon Packet Pick-up can be found on this webpage.

Packet Pickup

Is registration still available in person at the packet pick-up today?

Registration will be available for the next day’s race at each packet pick up opportunity. There is no race day registration.

Can I pick up my packet on race day?

No, there is no race day packet pick up!  Very rare special exceptions will be made for some athletes. Only those who make arrangements in advance will have their packets available on the race site on race day. In order to make arrangements for race day pick up, please contact Lori at

I will be out of town on packet pick-up, can someone else pick up my packet for me?

No, per USAT regulation, only you are able to pick up the packet, as we check your ID. THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTION TO THIS. If you need to make arrangements for picking up your packet at an alternate time please contact Lori at 

Swim Portion

Are we swimming in a river?

Yes! The portion of the Thornapple River we are located at resembles a lake; therefore, the current is minimal.

What should I expect in terms of water temperature?

Historically, the Thornapple River is in the mid-70’s. In 2014, it had a 10 degree jump in one week, and was recorded at 72 degrees on race day.

  • 2016 Race Day Water Temp – 73 degrees
  • 2017 Race Day Water Temp – 71 degrees
  • 2018 Race Day Water Temp – 69 degrees
  • 2019 Race Day Water Temp –  74 degrees
  • 2021 Race Day Water Temp –  76 degrees
  • 2022 Race Day Water Temp –  68 degrees

Will there be only one heat for the swim starts for each of the distances?

There will be one race start time specific to each distance event.  Athletes will line up according to pace for a time trial start with two athletes going off every 5 seconds.

Will there be a pro or elite wave?

No, the Grand Rapids Triathlon does not offer an elite or pro division.

Is there a list of approved wet suits put out by USAT?

The new regulation, which falls under Article 4.4 Wetsuits of the USA Triathlon Competitive Rules, states: Effective January 1, 2013, any swimmer wearing a wetsuit with a thickness measured in any part greater than five millimeters shall be disqualified.

What kind of wetsuits do we have to wear, sleeveless or with sleeves?

The type of wetsuit is not mandatory but depending on water temp, we recommend with sleeves!

Where can we rent wetsuits?

You can rent a wetsuit for $30.00 (on average) from this sponsor: Striders.

*We recommend you renting the wetsuit at least one week before the race, so you are able to give it a test drive, and get used to the feel swimming in it. If you would like more information on wetsuits, check out

Transition Area

Are bike racks in transition pre-assigned or first come, first serve?

Bike racks will be assigned by bib number. However, you may rack anywhere on your assigned rack. You must rack with your bike facing the opposite direction of the bike next to yours. Racking is first come first serve, you may not move other athlete’s bikes to get preferred positioning.

How far will we be running to get our bikes?

Approximately 0.3 miles to the beginning of transition.

Where will the transition area be located?

Bike racks will be staged at Ada Park on the corner of Buttrick Avenue and Grand River Drive.

Can we drop off our bike the day before the race?

Due to security and other race logistic issues, we cannot stage until the morning of the event.

Will there be security in the transition area?

Yes, security personnel will be posted at all entrances into transition during the event. No spectators will be allowed into transition and all athletes race and bike numbers will be checked to ensure the security of equipment.

Nutrition & Aid Stations

What will be offered at the aid stations for the run and bike portion for the Half Iron? For the bike will aid stations be on both sides of the road or just the right side?

For the Half-Iron distance, fuel in the form of liquid and gel along with water will be offered at the run. Liquid fuel, gels, and water will be offered at the bike. Aid stations will be available both out and back on the course.

Run aid stations are every 1.25 miles and 15 miles on the bike (bike aid stations are only on the Half Iron distance course). Fruit, pretzels, Gatorade, Pepsi, water and other snacks will be available at the run course aid stations. Half Iron run will also offer Gu.

What about Sprint & Olympic distances?

Olympic and Sprint distances will have water and Gatorade available at the run aid stations.

Will food be available after the event?

Yes, additional fuel and food will be available post-race near the finish line.

How far apart are the run aid stations?

Aid stations are every mile on the run course.

On the bike portion will there be someone there to ”exchange” water bottles or do you stop and fill up?

Volunteers will hand you a bottle running like a crazy person to keep up with you while you grab it. The bottle exchange is located at approximately mile 10 on the bike. For safety purposes of both the volunteer and athlete, YOU MUST SLOW TO 5 MILES PER HOUR or a bottle exchange will not be attempted.

To see a full menu of items available at the aid stations and finish line on race day check out the Aid-Station-Menu(PDF)

Relay Information

Grab your friends or family and get them involved with the sport you enjoy! The Grand Rapids Triathlon offers relays in every triathlon distance (there are no relays for Aquabike events). In a relay, each person completes one or two legs of the event depending on the number of people on the team. Once they complete their portion of the event, they hand off the chip to the next team member in the relay.

Do all three people have to be present at packet pickup?

Yes, all members of relay teams must be present to get their packet. You all need to show ID and sign a USAT waiver. You do not need to come together as your packet will be divided up based on discipline. So each of you can collect those portions that apply to the leg of the race you are doing.

How does the chip exchange work?

We have a relay chip exchange coral located at end of the transition area. The receiving team member waits here for the hand off of the chip.

Can the other team members wait in transition?

No – all relay team members must wait in the relay chip-exchange coral. Only the relay member doing the bike portion will be in the transition area.

Is there a separate location for the chip exchange for the swim/bike exchange and the bike/run exchange?

No – all chip exchanges take place in the same chip exchange coral.

Can one person do more than one leg of the relay?

Yes, two or three people can be a team in a relay and one person could do two of the disciplines.

Can you mix male/female teams?

Yes, our relay teams are mixed and can consist of male/female if you choose.

Can you mix age groups for teams?

Yes, our relay teams are not separated by age group.

How are the awards determined?

Awards are given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall for relays. We do not divide out  by age or gender.

Do all team members receive a swag bag, t-shirt, and medal?

Yes, each team member is treated as any other athlete except for sharing the one chip.


Will there be awards for everyone?

Yes, every one shall receive a finisher’s medal at the end of the race! Those who place 1st, 2nd or 3rd in their age group and overall winners will receive an additional award (there are no cash prizes).

I couldn’t make the awards ceremony, will they be mailed to us, or will we have to pick them up somewhere?

If you do not stay for the awards ceremony you may make arrangements to pick up your award in the GR area or you can pay shipping to have your award sent to you.

For more information about the Grand Rapids Triathlon please contact us here.