Inaugural Backcountry Triathlon Premieres in Alpena Aug. 20

Tent on a great lakes beach
Tent on a great lakes beach
Michigan DNR
Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Lansing, MI -( The Michigan Department of Natural Resources today announced that Xterra Rockport Rugged, the adventure triathlon, will be held at Rockport Recreation Area near Alpena, Michigan, Saturday, Aug. 20.

This event highlights the rough and rugged terrain of Rockport State Recreation Area in a fun, friendly and family-focused environment. The event site was chosen for its unique topographical characteristics, undeveloped natural beauty and the challenge for on- and off-trail routes. The park's location just north of Alpena along the Lake Huron shoreline makes it easily accessible from U.S.-23 north and U.S.-23 south off I-75 and M-32.

This event is hosted by the Friends of Rockport Recreation Area and Performance Locker in partnership with the DNR. All proceeds benefit the Friends of Rockport State Recreation Area for future park improvements.

The event steps outside the typical triathlon experience in a number ways, including:

  • An open water swim course in Lake Huron.
  • Bike and run courses that take the athlete over roots and rocks with a portion of the race leading through the forest off designated trails.
  • Separate kayak and stand-up paddleboard races.
  • Olympic, sprint and relay options.
  • A race course that goes through an abandoned limestone quarry.
  • Breathtaking views of Lake Huron.

For race and registration information, visit 3Disciplines Rockport Rugged events website.

Rockport Rugged has earned the coveted XTERRA designation. XTERRA is a series of premier off-road triathlons and trail-running races with events worldwide. Event hosts have engaged 3Disciplines, a premier race management company, to assist with race routing and logistics. 3Disciplines has managed more than 460 race events across the United States and will bring this expertise to Rockport Rugged to assure a top-quality event.

“For years we’ve wanted to feature Alpena’s untouched natural beauty in an outdoor race experience,” said event co-host Casey Stutzman of Performance Locker. “The Rockport terrain is the perfect canvas for an XTERRA event, because it is rough and undeveloped. This won’t be your typical triathlon. Don’t expect any well-worn paths or paved roads. This is rugged racing in its most natural form. It’s going to be a wild and exciting experience for the athletes. The event will appeal to both novice and experienced athletes, with multiple entry and distance options.”

Beginner and advanced athletes all are invited to be a part of this inaugural race. Distances (relays offered for Olympic and Sprint Triathlon) include:

  • Olympic Tri: 1000m swim, MTB, 10k trail run
  • Sprint Tri: 500m swim, MTB, 5k trail run
  • Olympic Aquabike: 1000m swim, MTB
  • Sprint Aquabike: 500m swim, MTB
  • Sprint KayaTri: 2-mile Kayak/Paddle Board, MTB, 5k trail run
  • The new 3Disciplines Super Sprint: 200m swim, MTB, 1-mile trail run

“This is going to be a great way for our group to raise necessary funds to assist with improvements to this park,” said co-host Carol Dodge Grochowski of the Friends of Rockport State Recreation Area. “The park is more than 4,000 acres and includes a shipwreck, ghost village, abandoned limestone quarry, a bat hibernaculum, sinkholes, deep-water fishing and even fossils from over 400 million years ago. You'd be hard-pressed to find this diversity of terrain and experiences on one piece of property anywhere else. We've also recently been designated a Michigan Dark Sky Preserve because of the opportunity to view the beauty of the night sky unspoiled by light pollution.”

For more information, contact Casey Stutzman at [email protected] or Carol Dodge at [email protected].

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In addition to registration fees, a Recreation Passport is required for vehicle entry to Rockport Recreation Area. Learn more about how the Recreation Passport gains you access to Michigan state parks and more at

About the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state’s natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.

For more information, go to

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