Competitors at the start line at the 2017 Lunatic Triathlon in Price. [Photo courtesy of Scott Merrell]

Moab is not the only Utah town to host triathlons — The Lunatic Triathlon takes place in Price, where race director Scott Merrell has added a unique spin to the event by hosting it at night, under the moonlight.

The reason it’s called The Lunatic Triathlon is that “you have to be a little crazy to like running, biking and swimming under a full moon,” Merrell said.

Participating at night, when temperatures are cooler, is one of the things 62-year-old Price chiropractor Kelly Terry enjoys about the event. Terry has competed in seven out of eight Lunatic triathlons.

“I like it — it’s not too intense, but it’s still challenging,” Terry said.

Participants are presented with glow sticks to light their path; these are worn around the arm, leg or neck, and wrapped around bicycle spokes as they pedal around Carbon County roads. Athletes are also encouraged to wear headlamps.

“It’s fun to see the glow sticks laced to the bike spokes,” Merrell said.

The event starts off at 10 p.m. with a 5-kilometer run along the city streets in Price, followed by a 12-mile bike ride on county roads and ending with a 300-yard swim (six laps) in the city’s pool.

Merrell said he founded the triathlon nine years ago because he didn’t want to have to travel all over the state to participate in one.

“So, I got together with Carbon County Recreation to plan the event,” he said. “I really wanted someone else to put one on in the community.” Then he discovered that he enjoyed directing it himself.

The annual event typically draws about 200 participants, Merrell said. Half of the participants are locals from Price, and the remainder come from around Utah. He’s also had competitors come from as far away as New York, he said, and, for the past three years, a man from Florida has traveled to Price to participate in the unicycle course.

Merrell said he still had openings for 50 additional participants as of his last count on Friday, June 22.

The event also includes a kids’ triathlon, which is a shorter race than the main triathlon. It’s free for the kids. Children, ages 6 to 11, cycle for a mile, run for a half-mile and complete the event with a 25-yard swim.

If you’re not inclined toward all three sports, Merrell said participants can do just one of the eight different options from which to choose. In addition to a relay team category and the kids’ triathlon, there is a duathlon, a 5K, a mini-sprint triathlon, a unicycle triathlon and an extreme course triathlon for people who want to swim with the waves turned on in the city wave pool. Riding a mountain bike, a single-track course, and an off-road run finish out the event’s different options.

Participants go home with a shirt, a finisher’s medal, a race bag full of goodies donated by local businesses and a glow stick. There are awards for winners in each category, and for different age groups, as well as men’s and women’s categories in the main triathlon.

“Thirty to 40 people walk away with an award,” Merrell said.

This year, Merrell has added a second triathlon to be held in Helper on Aug. 24.

Terry is planning to compete in both the Price and Helper events, and said he prefers the setup of running first when he has more energy, and ending a triathlon with swimming. Other triathlons typically begin with swimming and end with running, he said.

“It’s been really good for the community,” Terry said. “A lot of times, community members are out cheering us on all night long.”

Lunatic Triathlon returns to Price with night event

When: Friday, June 29, at 10 p.m.

Where: Price City Desert Wave Pool and Washington Park, 250 E. 500 North, Price

Cost: $40 individual; relay team options available

Registration: Online at

More info: Call 435-650-0345 or email Scott at