By Stephen McKay
Sports Writer 

Annual triathlon on tap for Saturday in Sidney


File Photo - The Sun-Telegraph

Sidney High School student Abby Heller competes in the first Dash for the Splash triathlon last August. This year's event is planned for Saturday.

Even if you're not in the best shape of your life, there are still ways most people will be able to participate in the Dash for the Splash.

For the second straight year, the Sidney Regional Medical Center will hold the Dash for the Splash triathlon this Saturday as a fundraiser to benefit the Sidney Swimming Pool and Deadwood Trail Expansion projects. The debut event last year raised more than $2,000, and the organizers expect an even larger donation this time around.

The Dash for the Splash was conceived in the spring of 2014 by three members of the rehabilitation team at SRMC. Once Ally Benzel, Kristin Schmidt and Rachel Smith came up with the idea, they quickly set about the task of making their idea a reality.

"There's quite a bit that goes into organizing a triathlon," Benzel said. "But, the community and the hospital have been so positive. We have more than 25 volunteers from just the hospital alone. So many of our co-workers just asked, 'How can we help.' "

Though still a challenge, the triathlon is not exactly the arduous task one would face in an ironman event. For individual adult competitors, the Dash for the Splash will include a 250-meter swim, an eight-mile bike ride and a two-mile run. Additionally, there will be two categories for youth participants. Those aged 8-10 will swim 50 meters, bike one mile and run 1/2 mile. For those 11-13, the distances are doubled.

"One of our goals this year was to incorporate kids into the event," said Smith, a speech pathologist. "For the kids, their entire event will take place along the Deadwood Trail. That will allow their friends and family to watch them and it will also keep them safer. The adults will go a little farther out on Sidney Draw Road."

For participants preferring to share the work load, the option to sign up as a three-person team is also available. In the team competition, each member will either swim, ride or run. Sign up will remain open until Friday. Registration forms are available at SRMC, the Cheyenne County Community Center or at

Sign up is also available on the Dash for the Splash Facebook page. The cost is $50 for adults (ages 14 and older) and $35 for children 8-13. The price for a team is $75 for adults and $55 for youth teams. All the proceeds will be donated.

The fun begins at 7:30 a.m. and opens with 14 swimmers diving into the pool at the Cheyenne County Community Center. The process at the pool will continue until all the participants have completed the swimming portion.

"We're also going to have a slip-and-slide at the end of the race for kids," said Smith. "As soon as they cross the finish line, we'll have it set up and that should be a lot of fun. We might even set one up for the adults if they want it."

When participants cross the finish line, they will also know their final time with their splits available for each portion of the race.

"Everyone will have a chip this year so everyone will know exactly how they did," Benzel said. "One of the things that helped us this year is the feedback we got from the participants last year. Having a chip was one of the things a lot of them wanted so we've incorporated that."

The organizers acquired the services of about 40 volunteers as well as the sheriff's office, the Sidney Police Department, the county highway department and the community center. Additionally, there are 25 community sponsors that provided either monetary donations or prizes. Last year, there were about 15 sponsors.

In 2014, the Dash for the Splash attracted 123 participants. So far, there are at least 127 signed up. Throughout most of Saturday morning, Sidney Draw Road will be closed. Additionally, the Deadwood Trail will be busy until the conclusion of the triathlon.

"Last year, the final week was our busiest week (for sign ups)," Smith said. "I think we started that final week with about 30 and ended up with about 120. We're hoping for another strong final week this year."


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