Attention Athletes:

Gosh darn it!

Not sure if this will be surprise to you or not...but we have to announce that our Columbia River & Girlfriends Triathlon Festival is transitioning to a virtual event . Sure, you could call us naive, but we had a glimmer of hope that we would be permitted to host a modified live event and we had created a detailed Safety Plan protocol that would have involved staggered start times over a longer period of time, masks required during non-competition, enhanced sanitation and signage, removal of any event component that would cause crowding including no food line, self supported aid, no beer garden, no awards ceremony, no post-event party and even no transition. Basically we would have taken out all the fun! Ha! It would have been so different than what we are used to but it would have at least had us all racing together safely on the same course with timing. Our number one priority is our athletes and the health of our community so we would never want to do anything that would cause anyone to get sick. We felt our plan would be safer than what most of us experience everyday at the grocery store, airport or mall, especially considering we would all be outdoors and very spaced out. Unfortunately, our permitting departments are not able to issue permits at this time so we got the plug pulled! Ugh!

It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and although we want nothing more than to be able to see all of you in person for this event, it's just not a reality. This event in particular is very near and dear to our hearts because it was the very first multisport event that we started 12 years ago with just a couple hundred people that has grown to over 1500 people and become a festival that we are very proud of. Let's see if we can get all 1500 of you to come together in a different way and still do some good!

So instead of crying, we will continue to focus on what we CAN do versus what we can't do. That's what athletes do! When presented with an obstacle, you figure out how to go around, over, or through. Although COVID-19 is stealing the opportunity for us to race together physically, we can still race together in spirit. Since we can't offer the live race option,  Columbia River and Girlfriends Triathlon athletes will now race apart but together from all over the country .  We aren't cancelling on you! This will be our 7th Virtual event in 2020 and we have some experience how to still make this special for you. We have learned that our athletes have really appreciated that they have something positive to look forward to and something to train for. Just because COVID-19 canceled our plans, it doesn't mean your goals need to be cancelled. Not to mention, we need an outlet and an incentive to put the training in to develop our physical strength, mental health, reduce our stress, and build our immune system.

All of this is important, now more than ever.  So you will still do the distance that you signed up for but you will now do it between August 14 - August 23 at your chosen location with your closest family/friends. You still have the option to do a Sprint or Olympic Triathlon, Duathlon (Run/Bike/Run), AquaBike (Swim/Bike), Paddle Triathlon (Kayak/Paddleboard/Row instead of swim), Sunset 5K/10K (although now you can do it at Sunrise if you want!), Girlfriends Sprint Triathlon, Duathlon, AquaBike or Paddle Tri, Girlfriends 5K and Kids Tri. You still get all the SWAG including BIG BLING and upgraded merchandise to remind you of the year you raced in such a unique way. You will send us your race photos, videos and results so we can still create an official photo album, race video, finisher's certificate, results listing and we will host virtual awards ceremonies. We need that sense of community and that feeling that we're going through this together. We need to feel that sense of accomplishment. The emails we have been receiving from our athletes who have participated in our virtual events have been so overwhelmingly positive and have confirmed for us that offering the Virtual option is what the majority of our athletes want and need right now. We will provide specific guidelines for each virtual race and distance including the rules and also how to do each leg of the Triathlon, Duathlon, AquaBike, & Paddle Tri events very soon. Here's a video that we posted earlier for 'How the Heck do you do a Virtual Triathlon' and we have had thousands of athletes successfully complete a virtual multisport event for PDX Triathlon and Pacific Crest Endurance Sports Festival. Our Virtual Lucky Triathlon Festival is next and now, Columbia River & Girlfriends Tri is joining the virtual club. FYI - we are still waiting on the final answer on Hagg Lake currently scheduled for the end of August.

In order to entice you to do the Virtual option, we have upgraded all the SWAG and will hustle like crazy to make this virtual experience memorable, meaningful, fun and something you will never forget.

Here's what you are going to get if you don't defer! Please sign up if you haven't yet and let's #RaceApartTogether!
All Columbia River Triathlon Festival athletes, get a Technical Finishers' Shirt, Made in the USA Medal and SWAG bag full of goodies from our sponsors!
Plus all Columbia River Multisport athletes get the above AND also get a collector's item Beach Towel, Quarter Zip, and a Can Glass! You get it all! We hope this is an incentive for many of our athletes to give multisport a TRI on their own terms in a non-intimidating way. Our hopes are that these virtual options lead to many more Triathletes, Duathletes, Paddlers and AquaBike Athletes in our sport!
All Girlfriends Triathlon Festival athletes get a Technical Tank Shirt, Made in the USA Medal and SWAG bag full of goodies from our sponsors!
Plus all Girlfriends Multisport athletes get the above Girlfriends items AND also get a Girlfriends Beach Towel, Girlfriends Quarter Zip, Triathlon necklace and a Wine Glass! You get it all! We hope this is an incentive for many of our girlfriends to give multisport a TRI! Girlfriends inspire each other to TRI so rally your BFFs and let's do this!
Remember, if you do all 5 of our Multisport events in 2020, you will get all of the collector's item medals and this wooden holder to remind you what you did during the 2020 Pandemic! If you haven't earned the first 2 medals yet, email us at and we'll let you know how you can earn a full collection.
Do you want ALL THE SWAG?! DO THE BEAST CHALLENGE?! Since the event is virtual over an extended period of time, it makes it more manageable to be a BEAST! If you perform 2 or 3 of the events, you can earn a Beast medal or the coveted Triple-headed Beast Medal. Since it's virtual you can do multiple events over the time period. For example, you could do a Sprint Triathlon one day, the Olympic AquaBike on another day and the 5K on another day. Any combination counts and you can earn ALL THE SWAG BY DOING MULTIPLE EVENTS!

Email  if you want to register for the BEAST Challenge. Each additional run-only add on is $20 and it's $45 to upgrade to an additonal multisport event.
FUNDRAISING: It's also important to note $5 from each paid adult 5K/10K registration and $10 from each paid adult Multisport registration will go to our beneficiary Our City Cares which is an organization who works with local middle school and high school students on Suicide Prevention. When you register, you can also set up a fundraising page to help raise donations and put an even more compelling WHY to your virtual race! Help us continue to support this important cause during these tough times.

KIDS: We want to continue to support our 'Kids race for FREE' initiative so kids can participate in the virtual 5K and Kids Triathlon for free and get a shirt, medal and bib. We are teaching them important life lessons and how to focus on the positive during these challenging times. Make it fun for your kids and maybe have them set up a fundraising page and see how much they can raise for our beneficiary as they train to cross the virtual finish line.

IMPORTANT:  If you have already registered, your options are as follows:

1. Participate in the virtual option which we REALLY hope you do!  If you have already signed up, your registration will automatically be switched to the virtual option so you don't need to do anything. Not only will you get all the upgraded swag, but also our already registered multisport athletes will receive a $20 race credit to be used at a future Why Racing event or to be used for the Beast Challenge.

2.  Defer to 2021 or another Why Racing event this year.  Just email us at  by this Monday July 27th and let us know if you want to defer.  We have waived the deferral fee. If you don't defer, all of your correct sizing for all official finishers' merchandise will be ordered for you that's why we need to know ASAP if you want to defer.

Register!  If you have not signed up yet, we hope we've convinced you to join in on all the fun! Here's the pricing details to sign up for the virtual race experience and receive all the SWAG and be part of something amazing! 

*$55 for 5K/10K and get the Shirt/Tank, Medal & SWAG bag
*$80 for all Multisport events and get the Shirt/Tank, Medal, Beach Towel, Quarter Zip, Glass or Wine glass, necklace for the Girlfriends and a SWAG bag full of goodies.
*Relay options too - since it's virtual, your relay partners can be from anywhere around the world!
*50% off for Junior athletes
*$20 for run-only add-on or $45 for multisport add-on for Beast challenge

We can't control what's going on in the world and the uncertainty of it all can be scary. The only thing we can control is what we focus on and our response. A virtual event won't be exactly as we had planned for, but nothing is really going as planned right now. The only thing we can do is to promise that we will do everything in our power to assure you won't regret sticking with it and going virtual with us.

FYI, if you email , Jennifer Lyman, will be receiving your email, who is our sweet registration director. Please be patient with her as her inbox has been slammed and she will do her best to get back to you as soon as possible.

IMPORTANT:  If you have a  Comcast  email address, many athletes have had difficulties receiving our emails. If you don't hear back from us, please message us on Facebook.  

Thank you so much for your support during these challenging times. So many of you have asked how you can help us make it through this when we can't host any live events and the best thing to do is to continue participating in our virtual races and inspire your friends to sign up too. That's the only thing that's keeping us together right now. So many of our colleagues across the country have either laid off all their employees or shut their doors for good and we are fighting that as hard as we can! We want to be doing this for the long-term! We can't wait to see you face-to-face at a finish line soon but in the mean time, a virtual finish line is better than no finish line!

Please share this email with anyone you love who you think would be inspired to go for it and would benefit physically and mentally from these events.

Sherri McMillan & your WHY Racing Crew
Athletes, please note.
If you unsubscribe to promotional emails, we will also not be able to email you Pre-Race Instructions and communicate any important race updates.