Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon returns to North Routt on Sunday | SteamboatToday.com

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Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon returns to North Routt on Sunday

— In years past, the Steamboat Triathlon was an awkward middle ground between Olympic and sprint length — a bit too tough for beginners and not long enough for experienced triathletes.

That's when Lance Panigutti and his brother Tony took over the triathlon with their company Without Limits. They broke the triathlon into Olympic- and sprint-length races, and now, both have become immensely popular.

About 350 people will participate in the third running of the Steamboat Lake Sprint Triathlon, which gets started at 8 a.m. Sunday. The relatively short length of the course — a one-half mile swim, a 12.4-mile bike ride and a 3.5-mile run — will allow a variety of athletes to participate, from first-timers to professionals trying to earn Colorado Tri Tour points.

"It's a great beginner race, and we'll still get a lot of seasoned veterans and elite athletes to come up," Lance Panigutti said.

"It's one of the prettiest triathlons you could ever have in the mountains. The water is so clean, and it's unseasonably warm," he said. "It's a great way to escape the heat and get up in the mountains."

Packet pickup for the event is from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Steamboat Lake State Park or from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.