Root River Triathlon

Sat May 18, 2024 Houston, MN 55943 US Directions


Individual Kayak


$65 8:30AM CDT
400 spots left. Price increases after December 31, 2023 at 11:59pm CST
Individual Canoe


$65 8:30AM CDT
400 spots left. Price increases after December 31, 2023 at 11:59pm CST
2-People in 1 Kayak

2-Person Kayak

$130 8:30AM CDT Price increases after December 31, 2023 at 11:59pm CST
2-People in 1 Canoe

2-Person Canoe

$130 8:30AM CDT Price increases after December 31, 2023 at 11:59pm CST
Relay Team


$190 8:30AM CDT
400 spots left. Price increases after December 31, 2023 at 11:59pm CST

4 Person Relay

$240 8:30AM CDT Price increases after December 31, 2023 at 11:59pm CST

Race Website

Additional race information can be found at


Houston Nature Center
215 W Plum Street
Houston, MN US 55943


This “doable”, non-swimming triathlon is set in the Root River valley in scenic Bluff Country.  

The first triathlon was held 1998 by the City of Houston. Participation is open to men and women of every age (young people of 17 years and younger with the consent of their guardian).

Participants begin by canoeing or kayaking 6.8 miles down river from Houston to Mound Prairie. Then they hop on their bikes for an 7.9 mile road-ride back to Houston. Some hills  “en-route” are challenging and demand an extra effort.  The race wraps up with a 3 mile, fairly level run, starting on the Root River trail and then through the streets of Houston. 

We have several ways for you to join in on the FUN!  You may register as:

  • an Individual Canoe,
  • Individual Kayak,
  • 2-person Canoe (canoe together then complete your ride & run separately),
  • 2-person kayak (kayak together then complete your ride & run separately),
  • or as a Relay Team (each person doing a leg).

Registrations after 5/8/23 are not guaranteed a shirt so sign up early!  

The Race


The Root River Route

The first part of the race consists of a 6.8 mile traject on the Root River. The start is at the mining area on the north side of the Root River Bridge(just before you enter the town of Houston on Highway 76) and the race goes DOWN RIVER (Easy !!!) to Mound Prairie. Here, there will be a welcoming committee of Boy Scouts who will help you ashore so you can go to your bike.  *Leave the landing of your canoe or kayak to the scouts. They know what to do to get you out of the canoe and safely on dry land!

When you are ashore don't forget to cross the mat so your time can be recorded. (If you miss the mat, your canoeing time will not be recorded.)
After you pick up your bike and put on your helmet, you will turn left on County Road 25 towards Houston.  Please beware of other traffic like cars and farming machinery.  You will engage a smooth paved road with some challenging hills. At the end of County Road 9 turn left on Highway 76 and cross the bridge over the Root River. Then turn right onto the levy and go to the bike/ transition and start running. (Do not forget to cross the two mats)
The run goes first over the levy. At the end of the trail over the levy turn left and cross Highway 16. (There will be volunteers to guide you.) Follow the arrows on the road towards Houston. Pay attention to the directions of the volunteers in the city especially when crossing Highway 76 (two times!!)
At the end of the run make sure you give your chip timer to the volunteer. We will be charged $ 30.00 for every missing chip. (And we will know who did not hand it in!!)


All proceeds from this event benefit local and international Lions projects.

The motto of the Lions Club is; WE SERVE.
The objectives of the Lions Club are as follows:

*To Create and foster a spirit of understanding among the people of the world.

*To promote the principles of good government and good citizenship.

*To take an active interest in the civic, cultural, social, and moral welfare of the community.

*To unite the clubs in the bonds of friendship, good fellowship, and mutual understanding.

*To provide a forum for open discussion of all matters of public interest; provided, however that partisan politics and sectarian religion shall not be debated by club members.

*To encourage service-minded women and men to serve their community without personal financial rewards, and to encourage efficiency and promote high ethical standards in commerce, industry, professions, public works, and private endeavors.

Event Fee & Registration

Early Bird

  • Individual Kayak / Individual Canoe:  $65
  • Individual Canoe:  $65
  • 2- Person Kayak:  $130
  • 2-Person Canoe:  $130
  • Relay
    • 3 person - $190
    • 4 person - $240



  • Individual Kayak / Individual Canoe:  $65
  • Individual Canoe:  $65
  • 2- Person Kayak:  $130
  • 2-Person Canoe:  $130
  • Relay
    • 3 person - $190
    • 4 person - $240


Race Day

  • Individual Kayak / Individual Canoe:  $65
  • Individual Canoe:  $65
  • 2- Person Kayak:  $130
  • 2-Person Canoe:  $130
  • Relay
    • 3 person - $190
    • 4 person - $240

Participants register as individuals or as teams.  If you are sharing a canoe (2-person) or kayak (2-person), the first person may register & Create the Team also adding the 2nd person. Or, the first person may register & Create the Team and have the 2nd person register afterwards, making sure to JOIN the Team created.  When registering both people at the same time, Add the 2nd Registrant & proceed through registration.  The price will both show as $130, but when you checkout, the additional $130 will come off automatically.

Individual participants kayak, bike and run the whole course. Individual participants  who use a canoe or double kayak are paired with another individual participant in the same boat.
Participants in canoes or double kayaks will accrue a separate time for each leg of the race. The total time of each individual participant will determine his or her placing.
Relay Teams consist of three people when using a single kayak or four people when using a canoe or double kayak. Preferably at least one of the team members must be a female.
When using a single kayak each team member performs one of the legs of the race and passes their timing chip to the next participant.  When using a canoe or double kayak only one of the team members carries the timing chip and passes it on to the next team member.
 The times of all three race legs are combined to give the team’s overall time.

Registrations after 5/8 will NOT have a shirt.  

General Information

General Information

No drafting ;
Depending on somebody else's skills is against the idea of a "Personal" race and diminishes the value of your performance . Again, participating is more important than winning.

For their own, other participants' and volunteers' safety, participants MUST wear life vests during canoeing or kayaking and helmets while biking.
Drinking water will be available at the race start, all transitions, and every mile of the run.

The Root River bottom is sand but the shoreline may be muddy. A change of shoes is recommended.

NOTE - Registration is limited to the first 400 participants. 

Packet Pick Up - Race Day
Check in at the Nature Center located on West Plum Street (intersection of Highway 76 and Plum Street) to receive a bib number, timing chip, and T-shirt. Please be on time.

Final Instructions - Race Day
Get final instructions at 8:10 a.m. at the canoe staging area. Staggered canoe/kayak start with 5 minute intervals beginning at 8:30am.

Bike & canoe/kayak check in on Race-day.
You must check your bike in at the Mound Prairie Bridge transition area starting at 6:15am. Bike check-in area can only be entered from County Highway 21 and must be exited south on County Highway 25 and then west on Highway 16 back to Houston. This area closes promptly at 8:00 a.m. You cannot compete if your bike is not checked in.

​Canoes, kayaks and bicycles can be retrieved at their respective transition areas after showing the bib number that corresponds with the participants bib number.  The transition areas will be manned until 13:30 p.m.
Those providing their own canoes/kayak, paddles & vests must check them in at the canoe start area beneath the Root River Bridge at Highway 76.

Public parking lots are at the Nature Center; behind Farmer's Elevator on North Jefferson Street, behind the Root River Market and at Barista's Coffee Shop.
If parking at the "canoe-to-bike" leg, you must park SOUTH of Root River Bridge on County Road 25 and return to Houston on Highway 16W!

All participants who register on time will receive a T-shirt. Refreshments will be available at the Bandshell.  Registrations after 5/8 will NOT have a shirt.  

Showers are available at the Nature Center.

Gear Pick Up - Post Race
All racing gear collected from the "canoe to bike" transition area will be dropped off in front of the Bandshell/ Finish area according to Bib number.

Awards Ceremony
Be sure to join your fellow competitors in the Bandshell at the Nature Center park for the presentation of awards about a half-hour after the last participant finishes around noon. Complete race results will be  available at: and then follow the link to race results.

Trophies are for the 1st place overall for females and males.

Medals are for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each age-group. Age groups will be 19 and under; 20 to 29; 30 to 39; 40 to 49; 50 to 59; 60 to 60; 70 and older. There will also be medals for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place of the relay teams.

Refund Policy
"No refund, no excuses and that means "YOU" (are responsible)

In the event of inclement weather, we will make every attempt to wait for an all clear from the local Law enforcement and proceed. If after 1 hour the weather prevents us from proceeding the race may be cancelled due to do an "act of God."

Waiver and Release
Before you can join our race you have to sign the following waiver:

"I know that participating in a canoe/bike/run multi-sport event is a potentially hazardous activity. I assume all risks associated with participation in this event including, but not limited to: falls; contact with other participants or spectators or the effects of the weather or water-including heat, cold, high humidity, traffic, or the conditions of the river, road surface, or trail; all such risks being known and appreciated by me. Having read this waiver and knowing these facts and in consideration of your accepting my entry. I, for Myself and anyone entitled to act for my behalf waive and release the Houston Lions and all other sponsors of the event, their representatives and successors from all claims or liabilities of any kind arising out of my participation in this event even though that Liability might arise out of negligence or carelessness on the part of the persons named in this waiver. I grant permission to all of the foregoing to use any photographs, motion picture, or record of this event for any legitimate purpose." 
 Additional Location Information
The canoe start will be at the Sand Dredge west of the Highway 76 Bridge over the Root River.
The first transition will be at the canoe landing west of the Mound Prairie Bridge on Highway 25 over the Root River
The second transition will be at the Natural Playground in Trailhead Park. 

The finish will be at the Bandshell in Trailhead Park
The Award Winning Ceremony will be at the Bandshell in Trailhead Park.

"Social Distancing" is mandatory at all times accordant the Governors Executive Orders 20-21.

In general the race will be cancelled if the level of the Root River at the bridge of Highway 76 is higher than 5 feet. You can check this out yourself. Use the link below.



How do I create a Team for 2-person Canoe/Kayak or Relay during registration?

Please watch this video tutorial we made.  If you still have trouble, please email

Are there restrictions or regulations on what kind of canoe/kayak, bike, or paddle I can use? 
No, you may use any type of bike, tandem, paddle, canoe or kayak. 

Do I have to wear a helmet while on my bike? 
Yes, all participants on the bike portion of the race will be required to wear CPSC/ANSI approved helmets.

Do I have to wear a life jacket while I am in my boat? 
Yes, all participants will be required to wear a US Coast Guard approved personal flotation device while on the river. We will have two boats on the river during the race to help you in any case of calamity. However a life vest is the first and foremost device to keep you afloat.

Will there be food at the Bandshell for participants?
Note that this may change due to COVID Mandate.  Yes, after the race there will be food, water and Gatorade for participants and volunteers. 

Are there other locations in the City of Houston that provide food and/or beverages?
Yes, there is Barista's Coffeehouse, Plum street 110 N Grant St, Houston, MN 55943​; J.T.'s Bar and Grill 125 E Cedar St, Houston, MN 55943​; American Legion 121 S Grant St, Houston, MN 55943​. 

Are there any other websites that can give us info about this area?
Yes, the City of Houston has a website that give you information about the City of Houston. (Duh!) Also the DNR  provides a website with lots of information about the Root River. State Water Trail guide to the Root River

Any more information outside the city of Houston ?  

Yes, see the site of Historic Bluff Country of Bluff Country does give valuable information about the area of the Root River valley.

Any more local information to use?

Yes, the website of the Chamber of Commerce of Houston gives info about local businesses.

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.



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