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Athletes asked to pre-register to make sure that they get a correctly sized T shirt

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Shiloh Binder paddles down the Crooked River during last year's Splash N Dash. The annual event features multiple choices of races for both individuals and relay teams. The annual Splash N Dash competition continues to grow.

The event, which is a fundraiser for the Crook County High School track and field and cross country teams, is scheduled for Wednesday, July 4.

"It will be interesting, just because it is on a Wednesday this year," race director Ernie Brooks said. "When we hit on a long weekend, we tend to get more people from out of town and a little less from in town and vice versus. But either way, we are excited."

The Splash N Dash started nearly 30 years ago as a multi-event competition including a swim, bike, kayak and run.

Since its beginning, the event has slowly added additional races.

This year, in addition to the traditional Splash N Dash, which technically is a quadrathlon, athletes can also opt to compete in a triathlon, a duathlon, or a 5K run.

The quadrathlon includes a 500-meter swim, a 13-mile bike ride, a 1.5-mile kayak, and a 4-mile run.

The triathlon includes all the same distances as the quadrathlon, but eliminates the kayak leg.

Those wishing to skip the water altogether can opt instead to compete in the duathlon, which consists of a 13-mile bike leg and a 4-mile run, or the John Marsh Memorial 5K run.

All races start at the swimming pool and end behind the pool in Ochoco Creek Park.

Individuals can sign up for any of the four events, while teams of two or four can sign up for the three-multi-event races.

Sign-ups are available online at Splashdash.org while paper entries are available at Prineville Athletic Club and at the Prineville Chamber of Commerce.

The online site includes maps of each race course as well as additional information about the races.

Although entries will still be accepted on the day of the race, Brooks said that it is important to have as many people as possible sign up in advance so that organizers could make sure that they had enough, and the right size, T-shirts for all of the competitors.

Day of the race registration begins at 7 a.m. at the swimming pool.

"They can register all the way up to the minute that they want to race," Brooks said. "Other than the 5K, there are staggered starts based on how you sign up. So if you want a better start time, sign up early. If you don't care, then sign up the day of the event."

The first wave of triathlon and quadrathlon will begin at 8 a.m., with races starting approximately every 20 minutes until all entrants are out of the pool.

It is important to note that while three other races all have staggered starts, the John Marsh Memorial Run will begin promptly at 9 a.m.

"We wanted to get it started before the parade, and before the heat," Brooks said.

Brooks added that each year a portion of the proceeds from the John Marsh Memorial Run go to support a local family or individual in need.

This year, the proceeds will go to help support Shea Little and his family.

Little, a former head football coach at Crook County High School and currently an administrator and coach at Culver High School, recently underwent a lung transplant in Seattle, Washington.

"We have a pay-it-back moment where we take a portion of the proceeds and give it back," Brooks said. "This community just keeps giving. When something goes down with a family member, people step up. The best way to speak is to put your check where your mouth is and help support people."

Cost to compete in any of the four events is $30 per individual, or $25 per team member.

In addition to the races, this year, race organizers will also have a hamburger barbecue in the park, to go along with the presentation of awards, following the race conclusions.

Cost for the barbecue is $7.

Brooks noted that with more than a week to go before the actual event, that registrations were already coming in.

"Right now, it looks as if they are a team, they are going to the Splash N Dash, which is all four stages, and if it's an individual, they are going to the triathlon or the 5K," he said. "The big question right now is will Ashton Eaton and his wife come this year like they did last year."

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