Posted by: Heart of America News | August 7, 2017

2017 Camp Courageous: Different Course, Same Great Race

by Ron Adkins

Heart of America Triathlon News


No matter where the race is run, the Camp Courageous Triathlon is a sentimental favorite of the Heart of America Triathlon Series.

Sunday, August 6, 2017 marked the 8th running of Camp Courageous, and the first to be held at Prairie Park Fishery, along the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids. The race’s traditional site, Central Park near Amber, Iowa, was unavailable, as the Iowa DNR is dredging the lake. Race Co-Director Nick Gearhart reported that an astounding 13,000 dump truck loads of sand and silt have been removed from the lake bottom.

If all goes as planned, he added, the race should be back home next season. Until then, however, the 250 triathletes registered to compete had many positive things to say about the alternate site. Bikers and runners complimented the smooth fast courses, and the swim-in was nearly ideal for the time trial start. The continued break in the August heat kept the water at a wetsuit-legal 76 degrees.


Men’s Winner Adam Kassem

Once Adam Kassem of Cedar Rapids finished his swim, he took control of the course and never looked back. He posted an impressive 1:07:50 to notch an overall win for the men, and notched his second Heart of America series win this season. Top female finisher Joanna Hall wasn’t far behind, coming across the line with a 1:13:09. First, second, and third place overall finishers were awarded a plate, hand-designed and painted by a Camp Courageous “camper.”

For complete race results, visit

There’s always a special energy surrounding the entire event. Camp Courageous proudly boasts that it is the only race in the Heart of America series to have a live band motivate the crowd. Horse Theory (formerly Summertown), a local jam trio, rocked covers, original material, and groove improvs in a three-hour set.

The Camp Courageous Tri Sprint always brings out the best in everyone involved. And the most enthusiastic participant, year in and year out, must be Christopher Marner. Christopher is a camper who overcomes a physical disability to race the swim leg of the triathlon. When asked to choose his favorite part of the day, Christopher, a huge smile on his face, shouted, “Swimming!” And when asked if he was looking forward to next year, he shouted louder: “Yeah!!”

A sentiment shared by a good many more.

Camp Courageous, located southeast of Monticello, Iowa, is a year-round, non-profit recreational and respite care facility, funded almost entirely by donation and fund-raisers. Anyone, of any age, with a disability is welcome to attend. To learn more about the Camp, visit

The 2017 Heart of America season wraps up with the Bluff Creek Sprint and Olympic Triathlon on Sunday, August 20 at Don Williams State Park near Ogden, Iowa.


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