EVART — Cheyanne Kalman found someone with mutual interests.
From those interests, the Evart Timber Beast Adventure Race was born.
A couple of years later, it’s going strong and Kalman plans to keep it up.
The third edition of the run-bike-canoe/kayak triathlon takes place on Saturday, Aug. 11 using Riverside Park, the Rails-to-Trails system and the Muskegon River.
• The 5K run portion starts and ends at Riverside Park using the Rails-to-Trails, a natural trail the follows the river and then through part of town.
• The 12-mile bike course uses the Rails-to-Trails course.
• The two-mile river course requires competitors to row one mile upstream — against the current — and then a mile back downstream.
Competitors can also do variations of the event based on their skill level.
“The first year, in 2016, it was such a really big hit for such a small town,” Kalman said. “It gave me a lot of motivation to come back strong.
“A lot of people said it provided enough of a challenge for it to be fun but not so hard that people couldn’t compete it.”
Kalman said the Timber Beast has had around 60 competitors each of the first two years and she’s hoping for more in 2018.
“We’re just hoping to make it bigger and better every year,” she said. “I want to put Evart on the map and have people see what a great community it is.”
Kalman moved to Evart from Schoolcraft — near Kalamazoo — and is part of the community’s fire department.
In 2016, she met Mark Wilson, who is with the Evart Parks and Recreation Department, through her job and the two began talking.
They found a mutual interest in 5Ks and staying fit in general.
“He mentioned the resources the area has, the Muskegon River, Rails-to-Trails and that it would be a great place for a triathlon,” Kalman said. “I asked why it hadn’t happened yet.”
From that, the Timber Beast was born.
“(Mark) really helped me out,” Kalman said. “I had never done a triathlon before and that’s why the course is a little bit backward. I wanted to do the 5K first for people who might get spooked by a triathlon.”
Using the community’s natural resources makes the logistics a little smoother, too.
“I knew I wanted to do the 5K and we do have a really nice trail in Evart that goes back by the river,” Kalman said. “There’s a really nice spot on the river that runs right next to the park so we have easy access to Rails-to-Trails in the center of it all.”
Kalman has had quite a bit of help putting the race on each of the first two years but more has fallen to her this year.
“The first year, I had a big team of people helping so it was easier,” Kalman laughed. “This year, I’ve kind of wondered what I am doing.
“I’ve asked myself if it’s worth it but then I look back at the (race) reviews, the pictures and see people having a good time. If we didn’t put this on, there would be a loss here.”
The race will be put on by the Evart Area Fire Department with a portion of the proceeds staying there.
The Timber Beast also plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to Kids’ Food Basket, a Grand Rapids-based organization that provides nearly 8,000 daily meals to children in need.
“That’s a really nice organization to give back to and it will help us get the word out about the race down there,” Kalman added.
For more information on the race or to register, go to timberbeast.weebly.com. You can also contact Kalman directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.