Scott Merrell participated in his first triathlon about ten years ago. He loved the events from the start. Merrell then took to seeking out other triathlons to compete in around the state. Unfortunately, as the events became more popular, the price of them also grew to an almost unreasonable amount.
Merrell began to wonder if others had the same problem of affording an event that they so thoroughly enjoyed. This, along with his night job that let him see our beautiful state in the moonlight, prompted him to create the Lunatic Triathlon.
The name lunatic seemed fitting to Merrell due to the fact that a lot of people would see a night triathlon as an outrageous idea, along with the fact that the word lunatic has roots with the moon. The decision was also then made to have the swimming portion last to make the event seem to fit its name even more.
In 2009, Merrell took his idea to Steve Christensen and Frank Ori of Carbon County Recreation in the hopes that the triathlon could become a reality in 2010. Ori and Christensen supported the triathlon fully, helping Merrell plan it and also host it. The very first year, the triathlon played host to 200 participants, who all enjoyed it immensely. Since then, Merrell and his wife host the triathlon themselves, although still greatly backed by Carbon Recreation.
Friday, June 17 was this year’s triathlon, which has grown to also include a kids portion, a 5K, a run-bike duathlon, a mini-sprint and a unicycle triathlon called The Loony Uni. There’s also an off-road triathlon called the Lunaticus Maximus, where athletes swim with the waves on in the Wave Pool, then completing a mountain bike course and off road run.
Merrell states one of the biggest reasons that the triathlon has been so successful and at a great rate of $35, which is the cheapest of the state, is because of all of the great support they have from the city and county. Price City supports them with the Parks Department, pool and the police department. Carbon County lends a hand through travel and tourism, recreation, road, as well as the sheriff’s office and the search and rescue department.
Other sponsors that Merrell wanted to spotlight and thank are: Southeast Utah Health Department, Tony Basso GM, Peczuh Printing, C&E Custom Tees, Pro Rehab and more. Over the last seven years there have been participants from New York, California and many states in between. This year, people from Texas, California, Colorado and South Dakota all joined. Families from Ephraim and Bountiful were also in attendance.
“I know I’m partial to this race but I really do feel it’s one of the most unique and fun races out there,” stated Merrell. “I think it’s a great thing for our small community and am so thankful the community continues to support it.”