Ideal Beach Triathlon races to the finish line for another successful year

Ideal Beach Triathlon races to the finish line for another successful year

It was an exhilarating race to the finish line as over 100 participants rode, ran, and swam their way through the annual Ideal Beach Triathlon at Elkhart’s Ideal Beach on Saturday, June 29.

Surf Internet Ideal Beach Triathlon 2024

Surf Internet Ideal Beach Triathlon 2024 224 Photos
Surf Internet Ideal Beach Triathlon 2024Surf Internet Ideal Beach Triathlon 2024Surf Internet Ideal Beach Triathlon 2024Surf Internet Ideal Beach Triathlon 2024

It all started bright and early as participants made their way to the starting line for The Sprint Triathlon, the first race of the day. Once they were off, the group embarked on a 400-yard swim, 12-mile bike ride, and 3.1-mile run in and around Heaton Lake. The fun continued after the adult race, with Michiana’s younger athletes taking on the Kids Triathlon. For this race, children had the option to be accompanied by an adult as they made their way through the race, or, if they had an independent streak and were up for the challenge, could give it a go on their own.

“We love to be a conduit for people to live and lead healthy lifestyles, and we love that the event brings that opportunity to the community,” Race Timer and Race Organizer David Gilbert said. “It's very achievable for anyone in the area to perform. On the flip side of that, it's great to be able to host events that do all those things, but also benefit the local organizations. The people participating can be a part of that fundraising for Michiana Family Center, which further gets them connected. There are a lot of layers in there and it's something we're always excited about.”

Bringing athletes of all ages and skill levels together is what has always made this event a stand out in the Michiana community. While it allows for plenty of exercise under the summer sun, it was also a place where anyone could come together for fresh air and camaraderie without the pressure this type of competition may sometimes bring, a factor many very much enjoyed.

“It's a good race for people who are maybe newer or beginners to triathlons,” Michiana Family Center Director of Operations James Solarek said. “Then a highlight every year is the Kids Triathlon. When the adults are finished, everybody hangs around and the kids do a triathlon. That has always been a really, really fun way to end the day – when the adults are done they like to stick around and support the kids.”

This year marked the third year the Michiana Family Center, a nonprofit dedicated to helping foster parents and children, hosted the triathlon. As an organization all about building a familial community for those who need it most, the center was proud to be an avid part again in this year’s event. To further show support, proceeds from the triathlon went towards the center to help it continue to help children and families throughout Michiana.

“All sponsorship dollars for the event go directly to Michiana Family Center,” Race Director Alex Antoniu said. “That is the whole purpose of the event and our partnership with them – to give them the ability to fundraise and be part of this event. That's what makes it possible for these events to happen. Aside from putting on an event for the community, we also enjoy being able to fundraise for the benefactors and be a driving force for them.”

The combination of promoting healthy activity while rallying behind a heartwarming cause was what inspired many to support the triathlon, including bronze sponsor Surf Internet.

“We've been a corporate partner of this event for several years and it's always been a rewarding experience,” Surf Internet Brand Marketing Manager Rachel Bakunas said. “Our CEO, Gene Crusie, is very involved with the local triathlon community and introduced us to this opportunity. With the event taking place right in our backyard, it’s a perfect way for us to show our support and commitment to the community.”

Additionally, Surf Internet is also the proud sponsor of the Heart of the Warrior Award, which was made in honor of Toby DeWeese, a 2015 race participant who tragically passed away while competing in the event. To continue his impact is an honor to the Surf Internet team. 

“In 2016, Gene established the Heart of the Warrior Award in memory of Toby,” Surf Internet Senior Director of Growth Marketing Amber Rodriguez said. “Toby was a Surf Internet business partner and Gene’s personal friend. We continue this tradition each year by seeking nominations of individuals who most reflect Toby’s personality, character, and ability to overcome adversity. It’s a privilege for us to sponsor this award and recognize the remarkable contributions of these outstanding community members.”

Participation in community events like the Ideal Beach Triathlon is important to the Surf Internet team. While the company is dedicated to delivering high-speed fiber-optic internet and cutting-edge technological services to Northern Indiana and across the Great Lakes region, they are equally committed to supporting and enriching the communities they serve. 

“Our mission extends beyond providing internet services; it's about making a real difference in the communities we live, work, and play in,” Rodriguez said. “We strive to be a positive force by actively engaging in community events and initiatives. Supporting impactful events like the Ideal Beach Triathlon and awards like the Heart of a Warrior Award is incredibly fulfilling. It allows us to give back in meaningful ways and demonstrates our commitment to being more than just a service provider—we are a dedicated community partner.” 

To learn more about how the Michiana Family Center is changing lives for foster children, parents, and families across the area, please visit its website at To stay up to date with Surf Internet’s services and how they’re making a positive impact across Northern Indiana, be sure to visit its website at