Frequently Asked Questions
When is the race?
September 17th, 2023 at 9:30 AM
Where is it held?
Long Hunter State Park (10 miles east of Nashville International Airport)
What and how far?
One entrant bikes 9 miles on relatively flat roads, covering a 3-mile loop three times. Then the team canoes together about 1 1/2 miles around a buoy course on Couchville Lake. Finally, the racer who didn't bike will run, jog or crawl 2 miles around Couchville Lake on a paved trail. Of course, you may accompany your partner and do all three segments. Some teams have their kids join them for one or more segments; we encourage family participation. As Loon veterans will recall, the official trail run used to be four miles on the dirt trail in the woods. We've changed the running course for safety reasons. Still, for any Loonies who feel compelled to get four miles in, feel free to run a second time around Couchville Lake.
How competitive is the triathlon?
As competitive as you want it to be! About half our racers each year are fit and competitive athletes. We also have a number of weekend warriors, dawdlers and walkers. There is no official clock. We don't keep time and we don't keep track. The idea is to have fun and enjoy the great outdoors. There is no time limit.
How much does it cost?
Flat-fee donation of $85 per team. When you complete the registration form, you will be taken to a confirmation page with instructions for sending in your donation. In effect, your registration fee is a tax-deductible donation. We want to give special thanks to the many generous Loonies who make donations each year well above and beyond the minimum.
Will we get a refund if we change our mind and decide not to race?
Sorry, no. Once a donation has been made, there is no way to “undo” it. By the same token, only those that show up on race day are guaranteed race shirts. Loon entry slots are also non-transferrable. You may not "give away" your registration.
What sort of weather should we expect in Nashville in September?
It will probably be warm, perhaps even bordering on outright hot. But there are no guarantees. One year, we had so much rain that part of the running course was knee-deep in water. We'll have lots of water, ice and misters.
How about the kids?
They are invited and encouraged to be there. In past years, the kids were very helpful staffing the water and snack tables as race volunteers. Some biked and/or ran part way with their parents. Still others completed the entire triathlon -- a real self-esteem boost!
Can we take our kids in the canoe with us?
That depends how many kids you have. Park rules allow a maximum of three people per canoe.
What about the finish line?
This is one of the best Lost Loon traditions. Racers finish the race by squeezing the "Lost Loon" stuffed animal, which then lets out its distinctive and plaintive loon call for all and sundry to hear. It is a true pleasure.
What about the post-race party?
We have reserved the covered shelter at Long Hunter State Park, right next to the start-finish line. Pizza and cake will be provided for all. Not to worry, there are flush toilets at the shelter. There will be plenty of other goodies to munch on as well.
What can I bring or do?
What if I don't want to race but want to help out?
Come!!! We need spectators and volunteers to point the bikers in the right direction, meet the pizza guy, make sure the canoes don't float away, etc. Round up your friends, grandparents, anybody. It's fun. Click here for volunteer opportunities.
What if I don't have a canoe?
Canoes, paddles and flotation devices will be provided, free of charge. Our wonderful canoe partners and volunteers will be toting canoes to the park for us. Thank you to our local outfitters, parks and university outdoor recreation centers for supporting our event. Note that park rules require that flotation devices be worn at all times in the canoes.
Can we bring our own canoe?
Yes, you are welcome to use your own canoe. See the race director if you have questions about whether your boat qualifies. Please mark all of your personal gear with your name.
What if I don't have a bike?
Beg, borrow or steal! Bike helmets are required.
How will we recognize our canoe?
Smart question. They all look alike when lined up on the beach. Bring something with a distinctive color to tie onto your canoe so you don't waste time mid-race looking for your boat. A brightly-colored bandana works well.
What if the weather is awful?
We're planning on a beautiful day. But if it's not, be tough!
But what if the weather is really, really awful?
We'd like the Lost Loon to fly. But safety is paramount. If there is thunder and lightning on the course, we may have to cancel some legs or the entire race. We did cancel one year, that being the weekend of the Great Flood of 2010. Note that we rescheduled that race for later in the summer. We consult closely with the rangers at Long Hunter on all weather issues. (If we have to cancel the day of the race, we'll still have our pizza party and racers may keep their race shirts, but no refunds will be provided.)
When should we arrive?
Plan on arriving in plenty of time to register. Registration will be open from 8 am-9 am. During this time, you will need to sign in, get your race numbers, and pick up your race shirts. Note that race sign-in will close at 9 a.m. for all racers. You will also need to pick out your canoe, size your paddle, and adjust your mandatory life preserver before the race director goes over the race instructions at 9:15 am sharp. This is also prime time to prance about and try to psyche out the competition. Returning racers: Please note that pre-race registration rules have changed. To reiterate, race sign-in will close at 9 a.m. for all racers!
To avoid any teams gaming the system, there will be no announcements as to what the trophy is for until the awards ceremony after the race. As per Lost Loon custom, last year's winners will be responsible for this year's award.
Will we get race t-shirts?
You betcha'! Wicking shirts and very cool ones at that! They are real collector's items. Just check out what the Lost Loon race shirts are going for on eBay nowadays.
Any final words from the park ranger at Long Hunter?
Yes. Park Rangers gently remind us that no alcohol is allowed on state park property.
Can we bring our dogs?
Sorry. Park rules don't allow pets.
If you do not see your question answered here, contact us.