W orking to end homelessness in Boulder is a lot like competing in a relay -- both require collaboration, specialization and it helps to have a large cheering section.

Leaders from three organizations in Boulder working to end homelessness will compete as a team at Sunday's Boulder Peak Triathlon to raise funds and awareness about the homeless and working poor in the community.

Betsey Martens, executive director of Boulder Housing Partners, Isabel McDevitt, executive director of Bridge House and Greg Harms, executive director of the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless will take on the Olympic-distance race at the Boulder Reservoir.

They've coined their group TRIing to End Homelessness -- Martens will swim, Harms will cycle and McDevitt will run.

"We all work together professionally, but a triathlon is a nice way to show our partnership in a really tangible way," McDevitt said. "In Boulder, we have a lot of different people doing a lot of different things, so it's nice to be able to participate in something I know is a really big deal for endurance athletes.

"But also bring attention to an issue that many people aren't necessarily aware of."

McDevitt, Harms and Martens will join around 1,600 other athletes for the race, which is the second of three races in the Boulder Tri Series.

At the Boulder Sprint earlier this summer, race organizers pioneered a new rolling swim start based on ability, not age -- which is traditionally how triathlons have organized athletes.


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After debuting the piloted modified rolling swim start to the full Ironman race in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, last month, Boulder Peak race director Dave Christen said he's made some slight tweaks to the Boulder swim start, based on feedback from athletes.

Amateur athletes will select one of 10 corrals (groups) for the start, based on their estimated total time for the 1.5K swim. The fastest group will start the race, and an athlete's time doesn't start until they cross the start line on the beach before entering the water.

The rolling start worked well at the Boulder Sprint, but the 30- to 45-second gap between corrals wasn't long enough, Christen said. Organizers will allow for more time between waves to prevent any crowding later in the race, he added. The amateur race begins at 7:05 Sunday morning.

The pro women, which starts at 8:45 a.m., and pro men, which starts at 9 a.m., will not use the new rolling start, but will have athletes lined up along the beach to begin the race together. Race organizers split up the amateur and professional races so that more spectators could watch the pros later in the morning.

"It creates great energy around the pro race because all the (amateur) athletes stick around and watch the pro race unfold right in front of them," Christen said.

He's coined a new name for the race -- the "pro town thrown down," named for the number of professional triathletes who live and train here.

Last year's female winner Laura Bennett will also not return to Boulder to defend her win, but Boulder Sprint winner and local resident Flora Duffy will race on Sunday. Duffy is looking for her second win of the series.

Last year's male winner and Boulder resident Cameron Dye will not return to defend his Peak title, so any one of the roughly 30 male professionals slated to compete have a chance at winning.

Boulder's Matt Reed, who won the Boulder Peak in 2007 and 2008 and has placed top-five a handful of times, got a new coach three weeks ago and hopes to see the results of that switch this weekend.

"It's already making a difference," said 37-year-old Reed. "I'm already starting to feel stronger."

 

If you go

What: Boulder Peak Triathlon

When: Sunday, July 14th, Amateur race: 7:05 a.m., Pro women: 8:45 a.m., Pro men: 9 a.m.

Where: Boulder Reservoir

More info: http://bit.ly/130mKxu

To learn more about TRIing to End Homelessness or donate: https://coloradogives.org/endhomelessness