A Run Oregon race preview of the inaugural Rotary Triathlon of Salem (and River Runs)

When the new Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge was being planned and built, I was ecstatic. In addition to adding dozens of paved trails accessible from downtown Salem (my lunchtime running route), it also connected 3 of Salem’s 4 main parks – Wallace Marine Park, Riverfront Park, and Minto-Brown Island Park. While I still have high hopes for a Salem Marathon of some sort, the inaugural Rotary Triathlon of Salem (offering Sprint and Olympic distances) is taking advantage of the connector on their multi-sport event on October 1, 2017.

Here are the triathlon course descriptions from their website:


Participants will enter the water from the boat dock at Riverfront Park and will exit at the boat ramp of Wallace Marine Park. The swim course takes swimmers into the Willamette Slough, then upriver along the shoreline of Minto-Brown Island Park swimming against the current, and finally across the Willamette River with the current to exit at Wallace Marine Park’s boat ramp.


Participants will transition to bicycles at Wallace Marine Park and cycle across the Willamette River on the Union Street Railroad Bridge. Participants will then pass through Riverfront Park before merging on to River Road South. The Olympic distance route will take riders past rural lands and farm fields before the turnaround point at the Independence Bridge. [Note: Bicycle participants will be sharing the road with motor vehicles.]


Riders will transition to the running event upon their return to Riverfront Park. Runners will cross the Willamette Slough at the Peter Courtney Minto Island Bridge and enter Minto-Brown Island Park. The route will take participants past open fields, wildlife refuge areas, and beautiful parklands before returning across the bridge to the finish line in Riverfront Park.

The event will consist not only of a triathlon, but also a 5k/10k for those who aren’t multi-sport ready quite yet. I have run the trails in Minto-Brown Island park MANY times and think they stack up to any multi-terrain trail parks in the State. It’s also larger than Central Park, which is cool. The courses will start in Riverfront Park and head over the new bridge into Minto-Brown. The 5k will be a mostly straight out-and-back, while the 10k will make a lollipop loop before heading back. Runners will get to run past open fields and wildlife refuge areas and have a fun return with downtown Salem in the background for the final stretch.

Entry fees include tech shirt, medal, and professional timing. Afterwards, there will also be awards and prizes, as well as refueling options.  Money raised from the races will go to “supporting Rotary’s local and international humanitarian projects that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, support education, and grow local economies.”

Come down to Salem and check it out!

Rotary Triathlon of Salem

When: October 1, 2017 @ 8am

River Runs:

  • 10k 8:00am
  • 5k 8:15am


  • Wallace Marine Park (200 Glenn Creek Road NW, Salem, 97304)
  • Riverfront Park (200 Water Street NE, Salem, 97301)
  • Minto-Brown Island Park (2200 Minto Island Road SW, Salem, 97302)

Register: Online here;

  • $105 – Individual
  • $60pp – 2 & 3 person teams

River Runs:

  • $40 – 5k
  • $50 – 10k
About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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