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DANIEL CLIFTON • PICAYUNE

MARBLE FALLS — As the Marble Falls Triathlon gets ready to hit the lake and the roads for its 13th year July 21, there is one thing that really keeps the event rolling: volunteers.

“We really depend on our volunteers to make this such a successful triathlon,” said race director and founder Mario Gonzales.

The Marble Falls Triathlon attracts between 300 and 500 athletes each year. Gonzales anticipates 350-400 this year. To keep the competitors moving and headed in the right direction, a good cadre of volunteers is needed.

“They don’t need any experience,” Gonzales said. “They’ll assist athletes with directions. They’ll hand out water. They’ll write numbers on the athletes.”

Volunteers also hit the water in during the event, but they don’t need to swim. Instead, Gonzales uses volunteers in kayaks to give competitors directions but also to be ready to respond in case somebody gets in trouble during the swimming portion of the event.

“That’s one of our biggest needs right now — volunteers in kayaks,” he said.

The volunteers can bring their own kayaks, but Gonzales has some he loans out for the event, which starts at Lakeside Park in Marble Falls.

The course hasn’t changed much in the 13 years Gonzales has put on the event. The competitors start with a swim in Lake Marble Falls followed by an out-and-back bike ride down U.S. 281 to Texas 71. The athletes cap it off with a run through the Pecan Valley area of Marble Falls before crossing the finish line back in Lakeside Park.

Throughout much of the course, competitors will find the friendly faces of the volunteers.

“The volunteers have a lot of fun,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales will hold a volunteer training session July 20 at 3 p.m. near the city pool at Lakeside Park. The park is located on Buena Vista Drive in Marble Falls.

Go to www.marblefallstri.com or email Gonzales at rpmsports@nctv.com for more information.

daniel@thepicayune.com