On Sunday, March 24, Lopez Lake will be overflowing with triathlon athletes of all levels, from 13-year old novices to some of the top athletes on the West Coast.

The annual March Triathlon Series (MTS) is run entirely by Cal Poly students and all proceeds go towards the Cal Poly Triathlon Team, according to MTS Race Director and industrial engineering senior Mauria Nakamura. The team is expecting 400-500 participants this year. 

The triathlon is open to anyone above the age of 13 and participants will have two different course options to choose from, according to the MTS. The olympic course entails a 1,500-meter swim, a 40-kilometer bike ride and a 10-kilometer run (a total equivalent to just over 560 football fields). The shorter option, known as the sprint course, includes a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike ride and a 5-kilometer run.

MTS is unique not only because it is student-run and has a diverse range of competitors, but also because of the course itself, Cal Poly Triathlon Team President and mechanical engineering senior Mitchell Fisher added.

“The really unique thing is it’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere,” Fisher, who has competed in MTS twice, said. “There’s really no cars to get in the way or … compete with. It’s a very beautiful area and a great event.”

This year’s MTS will also include a post-race event with various food and drink vendors, such as Firestone Walker Brewing Co., according to Nakamura.

Nakamura also said she is excited because there will be a beer garden for anyone 21 and older, a feature MTS added last year.

There will also be an on-site child care service called “Race Rugrats” where parents can drop off their kids while they compete.

Nakamura said she could not have organized MTS without the help of her six fellow committee members.

“For most race directors, it’s a paid-position and full-time job, whereas we’re doing this and balancing a million other things in our lives,” Nakamura said. “We really feel passionate about putting on an awesome event and giving back to the team.”

Nakamura advised anyone thinking about competing in MTS to just take the leap and go for it.

“Once you finish a triathlon, you don’t regret doing it,” Nakamura said. “You always look back with good memories.”

Anyone interested can register for MTS up until March 21.

Correction: MTS will no longer have Whalebird Kombucha at the event.

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