Sitka’s summer calendar is filling up, with many events returning in full-force after a two year hiatus for the COVID-19 pandemic. One of them is the Julie Hughes Triathlon. It’s happening this Saturday (5-21-22).
The triathlon is in its 38th consecutive year, in memory of Julie Hughes who died of Leukemia in 1985 at the age of 15. The same year, her parents Bill and Carol Hughes partnered with her swim coach, Siouxha Tokman, to hold the first annual race in her memory. Kevin Knox is an event organizer today- he says it was a lifelong dream of Hughes’ to run a triathlon.
“A lot of people knew Julie as a very charismatic, very energetic, young woman,” Knox says. “They wanted to honor her legacy through doing this triathlon.”
The event is a fundraiser for the Sitka Cancer Survivors Network. Participants can choose either the long or short course– which begins at Blatchley Middle School. From there, runners head over the O’Connell Bridge, to the Coast Guard base and back, before returning to the middle school to bike out Halibut Point Road. The final leg is a swim at the Blatchley Pool.
For non-participants who want a birds eye view, Knox says the Blatchley Middle School parking lot is a great place to post up.
“You get to watch the start of the run. You get to watch runners come in then, and then transition to the bike. The transition area can be a really exciting spot to sit and watch people come in and out,” Knox says. “There’s lots of action there.”
Knox says the end of the race is always a good time, when prizes are doled out to winners, and the participants celebrate their accomplishments by sharing Hughes’ favorite dessert – carrot cake.