Review: 2012 Highland Biathlon

Start off Memorial Day with the Lions Club. And free beer!


Monday, May 28, 2012, 8:00 AM


Lindendale Park, Highland, IL


Note: for 2017, the race is now 5 km run / 15 mile bike,

Official: 5 mile run / 15 mile bike
Measured (my GPS): 5.03 run / 14.84 mile bike

There was also a 5 mile road race (run concurrently with the biathlon run leg) and a 2 km fun run.

Image of transition area, showing people and bicycles on racks.

Transition area.

Put on by

Highland Lions Club

Timing by Fleet Feet


Well, there’s a boatload of them! It’s wonderful to see the amount of local support this venerable race has. Here they are, listed on the back of the t-shirt:

Sponsors for 2012 Highland Biathlon

Sponsors for 2012 Highland Biathlon


$30 individual, $40 team

USAT Sanctioned



Cotton commemorative t-shirt.

It’s all on the event website, dude

Race Day Weather

Lower 80’s, sunny, light wind.


Adjacent to the transition area.

About the Race

This very popular Memorial Day race (221 individuals and 29 teams in the biathlon) is now in it’s 33rd year. Yes, there is free beer at the end.

The Run

The run was essentially a square loop. The start was adjacent to the transition area, and the finish was on the town’s main street, same as the cycling finish. The first and last mile are essentially in the town proper. In miles 2, 3, and 4, you can expect to be seeing a pretty fair amount  of sun due to both a general lack of trees and because there is a segment about a mile long that runs east and west. The water stops were around 2 and 3.5 miles. I don’t believe I saw any car traffic and we had plenty of room throughout the run.

The course was generally flat with two notable uphill, a long stretch starting at about 1.75 miles, and a second smaller stretch as you are approaching the town at about 3.5 miles. This year, as in years past, there was a resident with a garden hose at about 3.5 miles and it was very much appreciated!


The finish to the run is on the main street, for the biathlon you don’t go through the finish chute (for the 5 mile run you enter the chute and finish). Past the run finish, you keep going up the end of the street and turn right to the transition zone, about a tenth of a mile altogether. The portable toilets were off to the right (I exercised that option as you can see from the map).

The transition was unusual in that it did not have a roped-in area or a defined in/out entry. You just go into the parking lot where the bikes are set up, go to the edge of the lot, and you are on the road again.

The Cycling

The cycling leg is interesting in that it is also a loop, but the cycling loop contains entire running loop as part of the cycling loop. It reminds you that you can go a lot faster on a bicycle than you can running! I enjoyed the looped nature of the course as I could see the cyclists stretched out in front of me. There were three climbs of any note, the most significant of which was at about the 12 mile mark.

Finishing on the bike, which is something you don’t get to do in triathlon or duathlon, was a lot of fun, with the last leg going along the length of main street.

Newbie Lessons Learned

  • This was the first race of my “new” career in which I wasn’t really happy with myself. I felt tired from the start and just faded from there. Prior to this race the speeds in all of my training were getting worse and I was feeling tired as well. I had an enforced week off after this race due to travel and found out that even beginners can overtrain, as I felt much better in my next race.
  • The stop in the portable toilet during transition cost me about 19 seconds. That stop costs me two overall spots although none in my age group. The second place finisher in the age group below mine exercised the same option, and his time behind the first place finisher was (wait for it…) 19 seconds. I am now starting to realize why the center panels of all triathlon shorts I have ever seen are black…

2 thoughts on “Review: 2012 Highland Biathlon

    • And indeed, many such as yourself have told me this, Ryan! It’s part of why I am enjoying this year so much – with a goal of merely learning, that in itself has kept my hands full.

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