Welcome to the Tri-Conic Challenge! So, what is it anyway? Well, first let's break down the word - a new word not yet found in the dictionary never knows the future. 

The word 'Tri' can be taken two ways and we use both. 

We TRY! Or, we Tri 

Tri also means three so we Try the Tri so to speak. It's a triathlon concept albeit rather different than most.

Within the word Tri-Conic (we like the hyphen - not sure why....) you'll find the word ICON. We use that word because...

We have many Icon's in Port Alberni. Our initial Tri-Conic Challenge in 2017 featured three very unique (to us) 'Icons' that you simply don't find everywhere. They are:

The No. 7 Steam Train. Port Alberni is blessed with a working Steam Train that travels the '6 mile' track to the McLean Mill National Historic Site on a seasonal basis. The No. 7 is a 1929 Baldwin that is a pride and joy of the entire area. The train then becomes the feature of the 'Run the Train.'

The 1958 MV Frances Barkley. This is an old ship that is privately owned in Port Alberni that is used year round to move goods and people up and down the Alberni Inlet. During the high season the Ship travels the Inlet every day of the week and during the off-season you'll find it on the water three times per week servicing Bamfield, Kildonan and other areas along the inlet. The ship for 2017 became the feature for the 'Bike the Boat.'

In the mid-1940's seven 'Martin Mars' aircraft were built for the US Navy initially being used as a passenger transport plane. In 1959 the four remaining Martin Mars were sold to a consortium of British Columbia Forestry Companies and in turn converted to Fire Fighting Water Bombers. The last two remaining aircraft (the Hawaii Mars and the Philippine Mars) are located on Sproat Lake just outside of Port Alberni. The plane with its perch on Sproat Lake forms the backdrop of the Swim event thus its referred to as: 'Swim the Plane.' 

Finally, within the word Tri-Conic one will find the word: ICONIC. Simply put, we think that our event is ICONIC! You will too! 

For 2018 and beyond we do expect the Tri-Conic Challenge to grow and evolve. The event for 2018 will not be held 'back to back' over three days as it was in 2017 and instead we are building on the theme of individual events that one can select either of or alternatively visit us three times over a six week period to join in all three - thus your Triathlon - Tri-Conic Style. Dive into the rest of the site for more information on Tri-Conic version 2.18




We acknowledge the financial support of the
Government of Canada.
Nous reconnaissons l'appui financier du
gouvernement du Canada.



The Tri-Conic Challenge was an initiative of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce that was supported by Canada 150 as a Feature Event aimed at celebrating Canada's Heritage. The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce extends its thanks to Canada 150 for believing in our vision so that we could bring this incredible event to the Alberni Valley. 

The Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce acknowledges the support of many local photographers who's work is evident throughout the website; Those photographers include: Lyndon Cassell, Darran Chaisson, Dan Fredlund, Susan Roth, Brenda/Russ Widdess. 


bike the

p̕inw̕ał (ship)

bike - sunday, may 27th, 2018

Swan and Biker.jpg

Our Bike event for 2018 will bring you to the beautiful area surrounding Sproat Lake. The event will start at  the Provincial Park in the main parking lot beside the lower campground. There will be four ride versions again this year including:

Smolt Ride which will take those registrants - likely kids through the park along the beautiful path toward the Petroglyphs.

Sprint Ride will take our riders along Ash Main from the Provincial Park over to the Sproat Lake Water Sports area on Stirling Arm (and back). Ride will be approximately 20 kms - gravel. 

Challenge ride will be a Challenge! It too will start at the Provincial Park and will follow the same route as the Sprint Ride only to carry on past the Water Sports Park all the way to Snow Creek Recreation Site (and Campground). And return. This ride is approximately 70 kilometers - bumpy, hilly, challenging and beautiful. 

Iconic Ride is....well, it's Iconic! Again, you'll start at the Sproat Lake Provincial Park Campground head along Ash Main over to Taylor Main then to Gracie Lake Main then Nahmint Main - Canal Main before winding back over to the Provincial Park. Total KM's are about 90 but don't kid yourself....this is not an easy ride. Steep climbs, gravel, rocks and scenery like you've never seen before. You'll see many waterfalls, you'll see Sproat Lake - Stirling Arm, Gracie Lake, Nahmint Lake and from there you'll work your way back over to the Alberni Inlet where you'll catch a break over at the beautiful Mactush Campground - likely one of the prettiest you'll ever see. Then a bumpy and stunning ride back to the starting point. Where you'll end...

Races all start at 8:00am - Sunday, May 27, 2018

More race day details are available here




run the

muuna (train)

run - sunday, July 1, 2018 CANADA DAY - Featuring the 61st annual canada day parade

All-out foot races begin at the Harbour Quay E&N Railway Train Station, home of Port Alberni's Iconic 1929 No. 7 Baldwin Steam Train.

This event started it all! Known on its own as the No. 7 Challenge, "Sprint" runners will race the train on a 10K journey from our bustling waterfront, through town, and out to the McLean Mill National Historic Site - Canada's only operational Steam Powered Mill.  Our Smolt Run will take place at the McLean Mill and it will include a ride on the Train out to the Site where all the fun will be. 

Remember, this is CANADA DAY! We're going to include some fantastic things for ALL! Race the Steam Train, Enjoy the parade as it comes toward you, enjoy Beer/Burger at the McLean Mill, a Car Show, events for Children and much more! 

10:00am Sunday, July 1, 2017 - Canada Day

More race day details are available here


swim the

matuk (plane)

SWIM - sunday, july 8th, 2018

Extreme open-water swims begin on beautiful Sproat Lake Provincial Park, which has been the home-base for Coulson's Iconic 1945 Martin Mars Flying Tankers

Though the 'Phillippine and Hawaii' Water Bombers are 'retired' from active duty they are nearby and access for viewing can be arranged. This year our swim will feature the historic Petroglyphs which were carved into the nearby rocks some 800 years ago by the local First Nations People. The Iconic Swim will bring our athletes very close to these historic and amazing drawings. 

9:00am Sunday, July 8, 2018


More race day details are available here



Smolts:  ~ 3km (Mtn Bike)
Sprints: ~ 17 km (Mtn Bike)
Challenge: ~ 80 km (Mtn Bike)
Iconic:  ~ 90 km (Mtn Bike)

running Tiers

Smolts: 500m
Sprints: 10Km


Smolts: 100m
Sprints: 500m
Challenge: 2,000m
Iconic: 4,000m



 Frequently Asked Questions


The name comes from the history of Port Alberni which includes many historical features and assets that are unique to the area. We've simply paired up these assets alongside athletes who like history and like to make history through their own efforts. In 2017 we featured the No. 7 Steam Train built in 1929, the MV Frances Barkley built in 1958 and the Hawaii Martin Mars Waterbomber built by the US Navy in 1945. For 2018 we continue with the Steam Train for the run. The bike event will feature the 'Swan' an old Steamship that spent 40 years at the bottom of Sproat Lake and is now up for public display. The swim event will still showcase the home area of the Martin Mars but this year we feature the First Nations carvings on Sproat Lake - the 800 year old Petroglyphs.


The Tri-Conic Challenge is an initiative of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce.


Check out the Fees page here for more specific information on registration costs and what registration includes.

Registration is through our Event page on RACEROSTER.COM. There you will be able to find a full pricing breakdown as well as more specific information on bundling your registration.

Registration Packages to be picked up the day before each event or day of where time permits. All registrants will be notified of locations and times for these.


Yes! In 2017 our event occured over a three day long weekend as part of the Canada 150 celebrations. For 2018 we are moving the event to 'individual' ones with the option for registrants to sign up for all three. Those doing so will see some significant rate reductions for the Tri part of the event.


Port Alberni is known for its beautiful warm summers. Consider booking a campsite with one of our partners. Experience the rugged West Coast lifestyle by camping near lakes, rivers, mountains, and giant old-growth forests. We encourage you to BOOK SOON as our area is often booked heavily during the high season time frames. We have purposely scheduled the events for 2018 outside of the major long-weekends so that our guests (you) can have more choice for places to stay.

6. Why do you refer to it as a Tri event ie: Triathlon ?

Ah, good question! The event was initially planned as a triathlon concept however our registrants have asked us to focus on the individual side of things but still provide an option to do all three.

  • > What is the Safety Plan? The safety plan is extensive and will be communicated through this website and direct messaging as we close in the dates. Rest assured we have one!

What is the Safety Plan?



Check out Shaw TV's coverage from the 2016 No. 7 Challenge.


3 Iconic Events - Most triathlons are done in one day. Ours takes 6 weeks


Getting to Port Alberni

The Alberni Valley is located on Central Vancouver Island en route to Tofino and Ucluelet.

Driving? Visitors heading from BC ferries in Nanaimo or Victoria will head North on Highway 19 until the Highway 4 turn-off near Qualicum Beach. Port Alberni is approximately 3 hours from Victoria and 1 hour from Nanaimo. 

Flying?  Pacific Seaplanes direct daily service to Port Alberni (scenic charter tours also available)

KD Air flight to Qualicum Beach and shuttle to Port Alberni.

Bus? Tofino Bus Lines operate Island Wide with many daily stops in Port Alberni.




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