The 7th Annual Natural High Triathlon raised about $10,000 for KidSport over the weekend.

Event organizer Andrew Gustafson says 217 athletes participated in Saturday's event, which included races for both adults and children.

He says the races wrapped up by late morning, so participants weren't hampered by the weekend heat wave.

"It didn't heat up until about 11 o'clock and we actually had a really nice breeze and it was a beautiful morning," Gustafson says. "I don't think we could have asked for better conditions. The breeze, I think, made the biking just a little bit harder riding into the wind, but the weather held off for us beautifully. This is the seventh year and knock on wood, we've never had rain for it. This was just a perfect day."

Gustafson points out that a triathlon is an accessible event for many people to get involved in and this year's race attracted a wide range of participants. The morning kicked off with the swim race in Crystal Shores Lake, followed by the cycling and running portions of the triathlon.

"The winner was about an hour and five this year and the slowest time we had  was just a little bit north of two hours," he says. "So you can see that we've got a huge variation in abilities that come and do this, some very highly trained triathletes and some people that are brand new to the sport just looking to try it out for the first time. I think everybody comes and has a really good time."

Gustafson says he feels that participation in sports shouldn't be a privilege, but a right that all kids should have, and that's why the event is organized in support of KidSport.

"It's unfortunate that some kids don't have access to sports simply because of the price of it," he points out. "KidSport's entire mandate is to correct that lack of access and get kids involved."

Gustafson thanks those local motorists who had to find an alternate route due to the road closures Saturday morning. He attributes the event's success to the hundreds of people involved, from the athletes themselves to sponsors and the volunteers who spend hours helping to ensure the triathlon runs smoothly.

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at news@okotoksonline.com

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