The third annual Sam Oden Memorial Triathlon was another great success. The event was held Saturday, July 27, at Big Sandy Lodge & Resort in McGregor on a picture perfect day. Participants numbered 130.

Swimming was added for the first time this year, giving race participants the option to compete as individuals or on teams in a relay of either swimming, biking and running or kayaking, biking and running.  

Thirteen youth under age 12 also competed in the kids’ race. One competitor, 11-year-old Carson Hill, was the first in the youth category to complete all three events as an individual. “He swam, biked and ran the course and was a special inspiration to others,” says Sam’s mother Andrea Oden.

Previously named the Big Sandy Triathlon, the event was started in 2014 by Andrea Oden, a fitness trainer, and her friend McGregor Community Education Director, Lisa Kruse. The triathlon became Sam’s favorite summer event. Sam took first place as an individual in 2014 and first place on a team with his father Tom and a family friend the following year.

In 2016, tragedy struck the Oden family when 19-year-old Sam lost his life in a fatal traffic accident in early August. The triathlon was cancelled that year due to the family’s loss but returned in 2017 with a new name and mission. The Sam Oden Memorial Triathlon has grown each year since.

“It is important to our family to keep Sam’s memory alive; therefore, we decided to change this race to a charity,” says Andrea Oden. A nonprofit memorial fund was also established in Sam’s name, which supports causes Sam was passionate about. “While his time here may have been cut short, our goal is to allow his spirit to continue on through the triathlon and memorial fund,” explained Andrea.

All of the proceeds from the triathlon benefit McGregor youth. Last year’s proceeds were donated to Big Sandy Camp to help build a new motor for the sledding hill tow rope. Money donated to the Catholic Youth Camp provided 15 youth with scholarships for a week’s stay at the camp.

“The amount of joy this event brought to participants this year was obvious,” said Oden. The Oden family would like to thank all of the sponsors, donors, volunteers and race participants. “This event would not happen without all of their support.”

This year’s sponsors included Big Sandy Lodge & Resort, FLOE International, Hang Loose Outdoors, Zorbaz on Big Zandy, McGregor Ace Hardware, Dean Masonry & Concrete, Tonka Cycle, Minnesota Made Hockey, Minnesota National Golf Course, Grand Timber Bank, Bann’s Bar and Restaurant, NAPA of McGregor, Willey’s Marine, McGregor Printing, Northern Edge Landscaping, McGregor Dairy Queen, Ukura’s Big Dollar, McGregor Baking Co., Holiday gas station, The Roasting House, CENTURY 21-Twin Lakes Realty, Yellowstone Log Homes, McGregor Insurance Agency and McGregor Community Education.

Save the date for next year’s event scheduled for Saturday, July 25, 2020. The committee will be working to include the Special Olympics in the fourth annual Sam Oden Memorial Triathlon.


Individual swim, bike and run division:

Top male: Nathan LeBrasseur, 40:20

Top female: Natalie Kruse, 49:05

Individual kayak, bike and run division:

Top female: Sarah O’Connell, 48:28

Top male: Jerry Zell, 51:03

Team kayak, bike and run division:

Glazed Dougnuts - Glazier, Glazier and Wagner, 40:46

Team swim, bike and run division:

Ducklings FMD - Peterson, McArdle, Brunn, 40:50

Complete results can be found at

For more photos and videos of the event, follow these links:,1188

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.