Thousands of athletes, spectators and vendors will descend on the Twin Cities this weekend for one of Minnesota's signature summer athletic events.
About 3,000 athletes -- including 41 professionals -- ranging in age from 12 to 85 will compete in the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis on Saturday.
The race starts at 7 a.m. for professional athletes, and about an hour later for the non-professionals.
For the best view, spectators can head to Lake Nokomis, where spokesman Kent Wipf said there will be a viewing area set up along the beach. The event is free and open to the public to watch.
"The best thing about our course is you can really stay right around the Lake Nokomis beach area and see all three aspects of the race," Wipf said. "You can see the swim, the bike transition area ... and then the runners. They go around the lake twice so you can watch them run, and the finish line is right there."
Wipf said athletes in this year's race, which is in its eighth year, come from 44 states and eight countries.
Among them are several father-daughter teams, an 85-year-old man, and three siblings from Michigan whose father received a heart transplant. They're running with the donor's three brothers.
"You see all ages and shapes and sizes and athletic abilities," Wipf said. "It's amazing, and you're inspired to watch people do it."
The triathlon also means several Twin Cities roads will be closed through midday Saturday.
The following roads and parkways will be affected:
- All of Nokomis Parkway, including Cedar Avenue between Minnehaha Parkway and West Lake Nokomis Parkway;
- All of Minnehaha Parkway;
- Godfrey Road, up West River Road across Franklin to East Mississippi River Blvd. on the St. Paul side;
- Under Ford Parkway up and around turning left, onto Ford Parkway to 46th Ave S., right onto Minnehaha Parkway; and
- Godfrey Road continuing west to Lake Harriet Parkway Upper Road, around Lake Harriet on Lake Harriet Parkway.
The roads will reopen by 12:30 p.m.
The event is the first in the Life Time Fitness Triathlon Series, which will host races throughout the summer in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, before ending with a championship in Dallas in October.
For a detailed map of this weekend's course, visit Life Time Fitness.