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Annual triathlon event raises money for Jefferson County aquatic programs.

PIONEER FILE PHOTO - The MAC Dash triathlon consists of a 500-yard swim, 12-mile bike ride and three-mile run. A new event has been added this year for kids that mirrors the adult event, but with trimmed distances.
Sept. 9 will mark the 10th anniversary of a mainstay community event in Madras — the MAC Dash Sprint Triathlon.

For the last decade, this event has drawn participants from around Central Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. This year, we are proud to announce that our title sponsor is Les Schwab.

The MAC Dash has raised money for various aquatic programs, such ad our swim and water polo teams and has provided scholarships for kids' swim lessons. The MAC Dash consists of a 500-yard swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a three-mile run, all with gorgeous views of the snow-covered Cascades.

This year, a new event has been added to encourage kids aged 11-14 to become triathletes: The Middle MAC Dash, a free event designed to mirror the adult triathlon, will be timed and will offer the opportunity for kids to train and compete with their peers. The distances are a 100-yard swim (four pool lengths), a two-mile bike ride and a one-mile run.

The Mini MAC Dash for kids 10 and under begins later the same morning after the timed competition. It offers both a short and a long course for varying abilities and each child will receive a shirt, a goodie bag and a medal.

While these events for kids under 14 are free, we encourage donations to support the MACRD Aquatic programs whenever possible. These events will assure fun for the entire family.

Events like the MAC Dash, the Middle MAC and Mini MAC Dash take months of planning and over 70 volunteers.

If competition isn't your thing, we would love to have your help as a volunteer. Please visit www.macdash.org and click the blue "volunteer" button to send an email of interest to the MAC Dash volunteer coordinator, Jim Gemelas.

Opportunities are available everywhere from registration to the finish line, from the pool to the bike routes. Every year, our post-race surveys highlight the happy and helpful volunteers that make folks come back year after year to beautiful Madras. Come join this amazing group that makes it all possible.

Early (and less expensive) registration for the event ends on Aug. 14, and registration closes on Sept. 3. For more information on all three events, and to register, see our website at www.macdash.org, or visit our MAC Dash Sprint Triathlon Facebook page at www.facebook.com/macdashsprinttriathlon.

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