02 Sep The Deschutes Dash
Deschutes Dash sports festival
Go down to the Deschutes River on any given summer afternoon, and you’ll be treated to a spectacle of paddleboarders, aspiring rafters and sun-loving Bendites. What you won’t see every day is a group of over 450 people competing in everything from water and bike races to duathalons and triathlons.
That’s a mix of events Lay it Out Events will be bringing back for their 12th annual Deschutes Dash Weekends Sports Festival, taking place Saturday July 18 and Sunday July 19.
“This is one where everybody can participate in some fashion,” says event organizer Luke Larson. In fact, the weekend of festivities caters to the whole kettle, from weak-legged wannabes to determined daredevils. Ten distance events take place in the space of two days, including unique offerings like an Aquabike event, which entails a 1,300-yard downriver swim and a 25-mile bike race. Other events, like the Splash ‘N Dash Kids Obstacle Race, treat younger athletes aged 3 to 10 to a plethora of hurdles and water features. “We see a ton of families,” Larson adds.
Not only is the festival inclusive, it’s also unique. Deschutes Dash is one of the few events to offer a triathlon covering the pine-scented, scenic area of the South Canyon, which runs past the Bill Healy Memorial Bridge. The Olympic distance events take place on Saturday, and the remaining sprint distance events are on Sunday.
To top off two days of sweat and sunshine, the festival with food, medals and Deschutes Brewery beer. Multi-sport participants get T-shirts. The Deschutes Dash will also benefit a charitable cause as a portion of the entry fees will be donated to help the children health and wellness nonprofit The Center Foundation.