WAUSAU – The Woodson YMCA Triathlon will celebrate its 40th and final year on the roads of Wausau this summer, the YMCA announced this week.

In 2020, the event will shift from a traditional on-road triathlon to an off-road race as the YMCA partners with Ironbull, a nonprofit off-road race organization.

Off-road triathlons are gaining in popularity, and Bryan Bailey, YMCA CEO, saw partnering with Ironbull to host an off-road triathlon as an opportunity to grow.

“Although the Woodson YMCA Triathlon is the oldest triathlon in our great state, the Ironbull Xtreme Triathlon will bring a fresh and exciting new event to our area,” Bailey said in a news release.

Racecourse designers will showcase the top venues in the Midwest for each portion of the race. Two courses will allow both elite athletes to be challenged and racers of all ages and ability levels to participate.

Racers will start off in water, but instead of a traditional swim, will be paddling kayaks. Racers will paddle down the Wisconsin River and across Lake Wausau with elite division racers tested through downtown Wausau’s world-class kayak course prior to being spit out into Lake Wausau. Racers will continue through an epic course, hitting top-notch trails on foot at Rib Mountain State Park and on bike at Nine Mile County Forest.

Longstanding Woodson YMCA Triathlon race director, Shannon Ramsey, is excited to work with Ironbull. Ramsey will collaborate with Andrea Larson, executive director of Ironbull and a past age group winner in the Woodson YMCA triathlon, to serve as co-race directors.

“Transforming our triathlon off-road will highlight the awesome trails and waterways in the heart of our community, allowing our racers to enjoy Wausau in a new way,” Ramsey said in the release.

This Xtreme Triathlon will still be held the first Saturday in August, with a planned expansion into an entire weekend of events on the 400 Block.

The Ironbull Xtreme Triathlon will be held on Aug. 1, 2020, with proceeds to benefit the YMCA’s youth programs, as well as to other partner organizations, such as the Wausau and Marathon County Parks and Recreation Foundation.