One-hundred-forty racers from both the U.P. and beyond braved the gusting winds and unseasonably cold temperatures to take part in the 8th annual Grand Marais Triathlon Sunday.
"They like the setting, they like the water, they like the bike ride out in the national park, and they just see that it's a fun event," says co-chair Karla Bowen.
The event has all the makings of a standard triathlon with swimming, running, and biking legs. But the years of hard work done by event co-chairs Ed and Karla Bowen is now being recognized with a hometown honor.
The Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club voted the Grand Marais Triathlon the best race of 2010. And it's a recognition everybody in the town shares.
"It's exciting and it really makes you feel great, but we have so many volunteers in the community," says Ed. "It's a team effort, it really is, it's the whole town helping."
Grand Marais welcomes all of the people that the race brings in, people like Denny Paull of Sheboygan, who crossed the finish line in just over an hour.
"There's a lot of really good athletes here and it's always an honor to win an event like this," said Paull.
"It really fills our town for the Labor Day weekend--all of our motels are full, all the campground is full," Ed Bowen adds.
Racer Katie Ludlow of Petoskey won the women's race with a time of 1 hour 14 minutes. Although it wasn't her first time in first place, she says she enjoys it just as much every time.
"It surprises me every time, in fact, I struggled in the water, but it's fun when you realize you're in first!" said Ludlow.
In addition to the men's and women's races, there's also a team category. This year's winners? A father, twin son team from Neenah, Wisconsin that finished in one hour six minutes.
"They've swam age group swimming for years and they just started running cross country for middle school, so Karsen did the swimming and I did the biking and then Brady did the running," says dad Matt Sherrick.
"I think it's actually quite amazing," adds Brady Sherrick.
"It feels great!" Karsen Sherrick chimes in.
All of the money raised from the triathlon goes directly into the general fund of the Grand Marais Chamber of Commerce.