Illinois Aquathlon

Due to low turn out the Illinois Aquathlon is cancelled for 2019.  We will continue to promote the event and hope to host it in 2020.


Sorry for the confusion.


Welcome to the Longest Distance Aquathlon in Illinois


Saturday July 13th, 2019 Inaugural Year
Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA – Drake Lake
10149 County Highway 11
Chandlerville, Il. 62627

About Aquathlon

An Aquathlon (also called a Aquathon) is a two stage continuous race including swimming followed by running.

Aquathlon’s are an emerging sport under USAT with over 100 events annually combining a swim and run with no bike, but this is the First in Central Illinois.

While all are encouraged to compete or complete the Aquathlon you can also use this event as an opportunity to get some open water swimming with lifeguards and other amenities on site for your comfort and safety.

A typical aquathlon is a run/swim/run combination, however it is not uncommon to see a two-stage race which is simply a swim/run combination.

The Illinois Aquathlon offers a chance to swim/run with distances suitable for first timers and seasoned Ultra Distance Tri racers. Perfect Open Water practice for those late season Long Course and Ultra Triathlons and SwimRun events.

While USAT rules regarding water temperatures and wetsuit rules and neoprene boots apply, you can wear shoes in the swim as long as they provide no forward propulsion. Perfect for our SwimRun athletes and Ottilo racers.

Racers can choose from the following distances knowing all USAT lifeguard to swimmer ratios are exceeded, dive/rescue team and medical are on sight, and your safety in the water and on the trail is paramount to the event.

Short – 500 yard swim / 2 mile run

Long – 1.2 mile swim / 5 mile trail run

Ultra – 2.4 mile swim / 10 mile run


Venue and Course

Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area.

Panther Creek, is it’s known locally, is One of Illinois’ largest public access areas, Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area (JEPC) in central Illinois is a mosaic of mature forest land, agricultural land, grassland and rare hill prairie that is home to a rich assortment of wildlife.

You will be swimming in Drake Lake following your color coded buoys and then running on the color coded trail system around Drake Lake.

Participants will receive a custom race T-shirt, transition towel and Finisher medal!  Food and drink post race at the Awards Ceremony.

Course Maps

Aquathlon Transition

Short Course

500 yard Swim

2 mile run course 

Long Course

1.2 Mile Swim

5 mile run course

Ultra Course

2.4 Mile Swim

10 mile run course – 2 Loops


Awards and Age Groups

Overall awards going to the top 3 male and females in each race.  All Finishers receive a Medal.



Short Course:  500-yard swim/2 mile run
$50 thru June 1st, $60 thru July 11th. $70 Race Day

Long Course:  1.2 mile swim / 5 mile run
$65 thru June 1st, $75 thru July 11th. $80 Race Day

Ultra Course:  2.4 mile swim / 10 mile run
$70 thru June 1st, $80 thru July 11th. $90 Race Day


Online Registration Link

 Packet Pickup – Drake Lake Shelter

Friday July 12th – 4:30 -6:30pm

Race Day – 7:30am – 8:45am 

Register before 11:59pm on July 7th if you want to be guaranteed a shirt in your gender and size.  We will have extras for Race Day sign ups but they go fast and your fit is not guaranteed.

On Line Registration will close at 11:59pm on July 11th.  You can register at both Packet Pickups and on Race Day but no SWAG is guaranteed.

When registering in person, participants must provide a photo ID, USAT Card or Purchase One Day USAT Insurance and sign a waiver to be allowed on the course. You cannot pick up anyone else’s packet and must show ID. No Exceptions.

Start Times

Ultra Course – 9am

Long Course – 9:15am

Short – 9:30am


Swim Tips

All swimmers keep the buoys on your right. You may swim on either side of the clockwise course but must turn all corners on the outside of the corner, keeping buoys on right.

Short Course swimmers follow YELLOW buoys.

Long Course swimmers follow ORANGE buoys while also passing thru double GREEN buoys at docks to record your Race Number and Lap – 2 Loops of .6 mile course

Ultra course swimmers follow ORANGE buoys while also passing thru double GREEN buoys at docks to record your Race Number and Lap – 4 Loops of .6 mile course

You may hold onto any stationary craft as long as needed but may not move forward. That is cause for disqualification.

There will be lifeguards and rescue team members along the course on rescue boards and watercrafts, If You Need help Raise Your Hand and a safety person will come to you.

To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort in the swim we have purposely kept the course close to shore for most of the swims.  For the majority of the swim you are less than 25 yards from the shore and can stand near the shore without moving forward if you need a break or breather.   You can then proceed as long as you do not move forward, we will have spotters on the land and boats.

We have also provided a Emergency Swim Exit at the farthest point of the course for tired swimmers if they choose to cancel  their swim.  It will be marked and while we do not want anyone to cancel the swim understand your decision and this exit provides access to the run trail so you can walk back a half mile to Start.

If you do choose to cancel the swim you are required to inform the Race Director or Timer of your decision and Race Number. While you must hand over your timing chip you can complete the run but will have no time and appear as DNF in results.

If you do not inform the RD or Timer of your cancelled swim and we initiate a rescue you will be charged $250 for the stress you cause your safety personnel and RD.  NO EXCEPTION.

You may wear shoes but they cannot offer any propulsion, no webbing, and if neoprene are subject to USAT wetsuit rules regarding water temp and no buoyancy from shoes.

You may use wetsuits if the race day water temp is within the USAT wetsuit rules.

Please see the Info Tab on the Webpage for USAT Wetsuit Rules.

Trail Running Tips

Run on the Right and there will be 2 way traffic on the lengths along Drake Lake but we anticipate no problems since the trail is 6 – 10 feet wide and groomed.  While not level they are smooth and mowed and well maintained.  Yes there is potential to roll an ankle or twist a knee but there is a greater potential to not beat up your feet and joints since you are running on dirt and not concrete or asphalt.

After 13 years of road running and trail running I can say with confidence trail running is easier on the body compared to roads and also provides a much needed chance to get back and into Nature, or as research is now calling it “Forest Bathing” or “Shinrin – Yoku”.

Bottom Line Trail Running soothes the body, mind and spirit.  Look it up.

The Short course runners follow the YELLOW arrows and signs.  Remember YELLOW and you will successfully navigate the course.

Water is at miles 1 & 1.5 and Start/Finish

The Long Course runners follow the ORANGE arrows and signs.  Remember ORANGE and you will successfully navigate the course.

Water is at miles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and Start/Finish.

The Ultra Course runners follow the ORANGE arrows and signs.  Remember ORANGE and you will successfully navigate the course. You are required to complete 2 Loops of the 5 Mile Course for your 10 Mile Run.

Water is at miles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and Start/Finish

All distances offer on course support and a chance to set a trail PR or the chance to run trails for those roadrunners that have not got off the roads yet.

Remember, roadrunners look down the road, trail runners look down at the trail.

No special shoes or equipment is needed for trail runs but a slower pace can be expected due to the challenges of trails.  No worries, as you get more agile and fleet of foot you can mimic your road pace and many runners find trail runs to be easier on the body since the trails give more than concrete or asphalt.

Please remember we are guests at this pristine site and must maintain it as we found it and need your help.  Please do not discard any cups, gel wrappers or any other trash in the woods, use the trash cans at every water stop.  Littering or equipment/trash abandonment is grounds for disqualification.

Toilets are located at Transition and at the Turn Around at Miles 3.5 and 7.

More About the Venue

The site, including the former Panther Creek Conservation Area, now totals 16,550 acres.  Formerly known as Site M, it was acquired by the State of Illinois from Commonwealth Edison after the company abandoned plans for a coal-fired power plant and cooling lake in Cass County.  Since 1993, IDNR has developed the site for conservation and recreation, adding hundreds of acres of native and cool season grasses, habitat strips and trees on former pasture, idling hundreds of other acres allowed to move towards forest through natural succession.

JEPC features hunting for deer, wild turkey and dove, upland species (pheasant, quail, woodcock, snipe and rabbit), furbearers (raccoon, opossum, red fox, gray fox, striped skunk and coyote) and squirrels.

Sport fishing opportunities are available at Gridley Lake (25 acres opened 1998), Prairie Lake (210 acres, opened 2002) and Drake Lake (35 acres opened in 2003). Several ponds within the site also have been renovated. Stream fishes include largemouth bass, bluegill and green sunfish, along with shiners, chubs and minnows, with muskie stocked in Prairie Lake. Northern pike have been added to Gridley Lake, which is also stocked for spring and fall trout fishing seasons.


The site has 24 miles of mountain bike trails, a three-mile hiking/jogging trail, 26 miles of equestrian trails, and extensive camping opportunities, including the Prairie Lake campground with 84 campsites and nine cabins available, along with a dedicated equestrian campground with 51 electric campsites.  Make campsite reservations at


Approximate Distances according to Mapquest


Springfield to Panther Creek 41 minutes, 32 miles

Bloomington to Panther Creek 1:29, 83 miles

Chicago to Panther Creek 3:56, 218 miles

Peoria to Panther Creek 1:32, 72 miles

St. Louis to Panther Creek 2:09, 133 miles