Farewell Old Friend: Saying Goodbye to the Lake Logan Triathlon

Events are a lot like children. You conceive them; you nurture and develop them; you see them through good times and bad; and, you eventually let them go.

Such is the case with the triathlons at Lake Logan. After a lot of deliberation, I have decided the 17-year run of the Lake Logan Multisport Festival has come to an end.

I started this event in 2006 with nothing more than an idea that Lake Logan would be a great location for a triathlon. What started as an international distance race with 162 participants in the first year, grew to include a Sprint race, a Half-distance race, an Aquathlon that twice was the site of USAT nationals and even an open water swim race. The height was 2015, when we added the Half on the same Saturday as the International. We had over 1,000 athletes that day, which was a little ambitious. We got smarter the next year doing just the Half on Saturday and the International and Sprint on Sunday and had many great years after that.

Unfortunately, the sport of triathlon is not what it used to be. Races around the country and world are going away. Even the vaunted Ironman brand is contracting with fewer events on its 2024 calendar than it used to host. The decrease in triathletes has been especially evident in Western North Carolina. I stopped at 50 when I counted the people who I knew who raced regularly at Logan and don’t race at all anymore. The club I helped start in Asheville is nothing more than a Facebook page now.

At the same time numbers have decreased, costs have skyrocketed and resources have become more scarce. It is an annual struggle for our friends in public safety in Haywood County to find enough people to support the event and it was particularly challenging this year.

And, there is the lake itself. Many aren’t aware the Lake Logan Conference Center doesn’t own the lake or dam. This belongs to Pactiv Evergreen, the paper company that closed its Canton mill in June, putting 1,000 people out of work. The lake needs work, especially the removal of trees and dredging of the sand bars, and it doesn’t appear the company has any interest making the large expenditures necessary to fix these issues.

Lake Logan holds a special place in my heart. Beyond the event, it is a place where I swam countless miles, enjoyed its serenity and where I married the love of my life, so this decision hurts my heart.

It is also the right one to make at this time so I thank everyone who ever participated here; my friends at Set Up Events who understood my vision and helped me make it a reality; my amazing team of staff and volunteers who did the hard work every race weekend; the Stien family; the staff of the Lake Logan Conference Center, especially its director emeritus, Johnny Keesee, who let me do the first one and never looked back; our partners at the large number of public safety agencies who kept everyone safe; the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority, under the leadership of Lynn Collins and her staff and boards; and the residents of the Lake Logan area who allowed us to take over their roads one weekend each year.

While we are taking Lake Logan off our schedule, we remain committed to putting on the best events we can for our clients and our participants. We look forward to seeing you at some of them.

All the best,