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3-Disciplines-Race-The-Straits-of-Mackinac Course Information

August 27, 2023 7:30 am

Mackinaw City, MI
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The swim will take you literally under the bridge in both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan as well as the Kayak, canoe or SUP.  The bike will go out and back to the Wilderness state park and the run will take you past the historic Fort along Lake Michigan.  The course is mostly flat with one hill on the bike with the run being pancake flat.


Opens – 6:00am – not before – Adjacent to the Fort parking lot on the large grassy area looking at the Mighty Mackinaw bridge
No friends or family members are allowed in the transition area for any reason. The race director and race officials will close the transition area 30-45 minutes before race start to ensure all athletes are at the starting area for mandatory course meeting and announcements. Once the transition area is closed, you will NOT be permitted back in before the race starts. Family/Friends will not be permitted in for any reason at any time throughout the event.

When the last cyclist is off the course and has headed out for the run. This time is variable and we will make announcements at the event when the transition area is ready to re-open.

Any athletes removing gear from transition areas before the announcer or race director has officially opened the transition area will be DISQUALIFIED from the race! This pertains to all athletes of all distances. All athletes deserve a clear transition.

In the event of inclement weather, it is recommended you have warm, dry clothing outside the transition area to put on following your finish due to other athletes still being on the bike course.

Timing Chip
When you have completed the race, please do NOT enter the transition area wearing your timing chip. PLEASE remove your chip before re-entering the transition area and exiting again. This will cause a timing error.

You must rack according to your race number, based on the sequence numbers placed at the end of each row. Please remember racks will hold 7 bikes racked with the seat tip on support bar. Please be courteous to fellow athletes to ensure there is space for 7 bikes on a rack. If there is not enough room for your bike on your designated rack, please see a 3D Team member and we will help. Please do not move another athletes bike or gear.

Aid Station
Located at the run in/out chute with water and electrolyte replacement.

Run In/Out and Bike In/Out chutes are clearly marked on the large structures at either end.  It is your responsibility to go the right direction while racing in the transition area.


Swim: 200m, 500m, 1000m

New for all events will be a Time Trial swim start.  For safety reasons it is important we ensure we are doing all we can to alleviate stress at the start and turning at buoys.  A time trial start ensures everyone has a clear, stress-free swim.  You will SELF SEED according to your 500m swim time.  (THIS IS YOUR ACTUAL swim time, not what you THINK you will swim, or want to swim) this is important to ensure you are not swam over or create congestion by seeding yourself faster than you can swim.  Don’t be that athlete that creates a traffic jam.  See yourself appropriately and everyone will have a great time in the water.

Each athlete will report their number to the timer before crossing the timing mats and entering the water.  Again your responsibility to report that number to the timer.

Time trial starts: International distance, Sprint athletes first, followed about 30 minutes later with Super Sprint athletes.

This course will change slightly based on wind conditions each year but you will swim under the bridge as a turnaround point.  The entry/exit point will be a tad rocky as we are swimming off the point of Mackinaw.  Water temps can be all over the board here as both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet under the bridge and of course we are at the mercy of Mother Nature in terms of the water being flat or rough.

Swim course will be patrolled by lifeguards, search and rescue, as well as sheriff’s marine division.

It will be a beach start, note, this is a rocky beach, not sandy.

Bike: 10k, 20k, 30k

This is a fun and very fast out and back that has one nice hill that will separate folks.  Newly repaved out and back to Wilderness state park.  A short one-mile section at the beginning and end will wind you through some residential streets before turning onto Strait’s avenue in downtown Mackinaw City.  Click here for bike course

Run: 1mile, 5k, 8k

Exiting the Transition Area, you will follow the side walk around under the bridge and past the fort out and back along Lake Michigan through a small residential area along the lake.  Flat and fast with residents cheering you on.

Aid stations: Located every mile with iced water, lemon-lime Gatorade Endurance Formula and energy gels.

Click here for run course


You will start with your specific swim wave. Check the information cube at the event for wave start information.  

You will complete the Swim and Bike disciplines of the event. Following your Bike discipline, you will dismount your bike, cross the Bike In timing mats and place your bike back at your spot on the rack in the Transition Area.  You will then proceed across the Run Out timing mats and you are done! Your finish time will be when you cross the timing mats at that point.

DO NOT re-enter the transition area through Run In/Out or Bike In/Out. This will cause a timing error.  

Finisher Memento 
If the event offers a finisher’s memento, please proceed to the finish area to receive the item. Tell the support crew at the finish line you were in the aquabike race and they will hand you the finishers memento. 

You will keep your timing chip & strap on until all the bikes are off the course. Once we announce the transition is open, you may turn your chip & strap in at the designated collection point and retrieve your gear at that point.


Kaya-Tri athletes will start in your designated wave, in the water under the KayaTri start flag.  Your course will be determined by the weather and lake conditions as is the swimmers.  This is an ever-changing area with both lakes converging under the bridge.  We could go east one year and west another.  You will parallel the shoreline to your Kayatri turnaround buoy. From there, head back to the finish on the opposite side of the swim start, placing kayaks in the flagged area. From that point head into the Transition Area meshing in with the swimmers.  Then completing the sprint course..

You are required to have a life jacket on board, per Michigan DNR Boating rules.


You will start at the Duathlon start flag just in front of the finish chute.  About 5 minutes before your start you will be directed to this area where the run course coordinator will be awaiting for further instructions.  He/She will lead out the first run, a 2.5k jaunt out and back.  Your FIRST RUN Turnaround sign is a 4′ tall – A Frame with DU TURNAROUND on it.  You will simply turnaround at that point and head back.   You will run down the finish chute to a left turn meshing in with the swimmers entering the transition area.  From that point you will head out on the same bike and 2nd run course as the rest of the athletes.  

Super Sprint

One of the first to launch the Super Sprint back in 2014, the goal with it was to provide an intro to Triathlon.  No matter your age, 6 yrs to 80+ yrs. the final wave of the day to start gets you out of the chaos of the start, and keeps you with like-minded athletes.  A perfect introductory distance that we try to keep non-competitive with no awards, but of course, everyone gets a finisher medal.  Come on out and Try your first TRI.  Questions, don’t hesitate, any question is a good question!

200m swim – your swim will always start following the final sprint athlete in every super sprint event.  These will be an out to the first buoy, over and in.

10k  bike – will be an out and back.  Following all signs indicating SUPER

1 mile run – will be an out and back as well.  Following all signs indicating SUPER

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