Give multi-sports a try with the Island Aquathon Sept. 1

It may not be your traditional triathlon, or even duathlon, but that doesn’t bother Porter Bratten.

The race director for the Islander Aquathon, the first of its kind on Mercer Island, said while it may not be like other races in the area, the beauty of the Aquathon is that people will get a quality race at a good price.

“You get a lot of bang for your buck,” said Bratten. “Everyone is going to walk away with something. Really, it’s just a great way to spend a Wednesday evening.”

The swimming and running race, which starts at 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 1, includes a short or long course, depending on a person’s ability level or interest.

Bratten said the short course is designed so that pretty much anyone will be able to come out and give it a try. The short course, which costs $35 to register, is a 500-meter swim and 5-kilometer run. The long course, which costs $45, is a 1,000-meter swim and 8k run. The race starts at Luther Burbank Park and stays inside the park.

“It’s kind of a giant, elongated loop,” he said of the running course.

While the running portion will force racers to pay more attention simply because it’s off-road, the swimming part may be more challenging to some because it’s on open water.

“Any time you swim in open water, it’s more challenging than in a pool,” he said. “And the run is not flat. Because it’s off-road, people will have to focus more on what’s going on.”

Bratten said having just the two segments makes the race compact, easily doable in the evening, and it opens it up to a lot more people who may not ordinarily do triathlons.

“Just about anyone could jump in and do it,” said Bratten. The race is sanctioned by USA Triathlon, which Bratten said gives it another level of safety.

September is typically a great month for swimming in the lake, temperature-wise, and Bratten said it should be warm enough to swim without a wetsuit, but having one can make a swimmer faster.

“You shouldn’t need a wetsuit, but if you have one it will make you faster,” he said. “If people are nervous, it does help, but it’s definitely not necessary.”

Registration can be done the evening of the race or online at the race’s Web site, Bratten said if all goes well, he’d like to expand to a five-race series next summer with races around the Seattle area.

Bratten said he has never competed in an aquathon, but has done many triathlons.

“For me, it’s a chance to look inside yourself and see what you’re made of. It’s challenging,” he said.

Anyone interested in volunteering to help at the race can contact Bratten at or call (206) 437-1627.

Visit the race's Web site for more information.

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