In the days before Facebook, Twitter, Internet dating
and texting, there was the Beaton Classic.It was the place
to be, and many a couple emerged from it and the Sudbury
Fitness Challenge events that led up to the Beaton.
Now, it's hard to believe the four-event race is still
around. Even that the Fitness Challenge still exists,
lost in a void of all the other sports out there.Yet,
one could argue that the challenge and the Beaton are
even thriving in their own way. People won't let them
die, in part because that's where so and so met.
And on Sunday morning, with minimal advertising beyond
plain old word of mouth and the help of SudburyRocks!!.ca,
the Outside Store and the Running Room, there will be
a couple of hundred people out for the Beaton, regardless
of weather conditions.
The event initially staged at Laurentian University moved
to Moonlight Beach in 2007 for a rebirth. The Classic
had waned and finally disappeared in 2004 only to be revived
by enthusiastic volunteers. It has been nurtured and is
When you look at its history, the Beaton reflects the
way sport and participation in sport have shifted during
the last 25 years. Founded in 1983, the Beaton was named
after former Sudbury mayor Bill Beaton, a legendary canoeist
among other athletic achievements. The solo canoe was
inserted in his honour by his grandson Terry McKinty,
the lead organizer who also organized a ton of prizes
and paraphernalia for Beaton entrants. The event was designed
to push the best athletes, either as soloists or on teams,
to their limits, while showing off the beauty in and around
Lake Ramsey, Lake Nepahwin and Laurentian University.
What with all the swag, the Beaton amassed thousands of
dollars of debt. It recovered, grew leaner, yet stilled
lured athletes to stand practically naked at 8 a. m.,
at the starting line, then dash to the university beach
and swim one mile before handing off to a teammate who
would bike. Others would canoe, then run.You always thought
you could do it solo until that moment when you started
running to the swim.
In the glory years of the Beaton, athletes were selected
well in advance. Swimmers and canoeists were snatched
up early. A Beaton medal was a much sought-after prize.
The food was sparse, but that was OK because pasta parties
preceded and proceeded. Late Sunday, there was usually
more than one post-race party to attend. Couples met and
even raced together at the Beaton. It was the spot to
scout the athletic action and what was on the scene, not
in a club.
Then, it all came crashing down. The Beaton required
massive amounts of volunteers, time, money and work. People
turned to triathlon. Funding for a full-time organizer
was gone. The crews running it -- all parents with very
young children -- fried out. Triathlon was encroaching.
It was cancelled in 2004. It returned in 2005, then never
happened in 2006. It returned quiet as a whisper in 2007
under the new directorship of John and Celena Leonard.
They nurtured it until 2009 when Neil Phipps took on the
lead position. Under his watch the event has steadily
improved and is gaining momentum.
It is the Beaton, yet less frantic.This version of the
Beaton is cut in half. The distances are so much civilized.
It's centralized, running in and out of Moonlight Beach.
The swim and canoe happen in the same place within sight
of the beach.
Still, some things about the Beaton never change.It still
takes athletic talent to claim the title. As it was back
in the 1980s, there's nothing like winning the Beaton.
For even in this, its latest, shorter incarnation, the
Beaton is a challenge and a classic.
Beaton Classic Photos
Beaton Classic and Youth Triathlon
2014 Beaton Classic is THIS
Don’t miss out on this iconic Sudbury
fitness event. It isn’t too late to
sign up a team! Don’t have a full roster?
We can help you find someone to fill your
team. Don’t forget about the kid’s
triathlon too (ages 8-12). This is a very
fun, friendly and supportive event. New this
year are technical t-shirts included in the
entry price for all Beaton participants (kids
can purchase a shirt on race day). Enjoy an
amazing spread of post-race snacks and the
highly sought after Dilly Bars.
Classic Route Maps
Classic Course Instructions
Classic Entry Form
Online Registration Now Open
You can also fill in an entry form
at either the Outside Store or The Running Room.
or by phone at (705 523 6274)