On Saturday, county residents will get up early to swim, ride and run their way to glory.

On Saturday, county residents will get up early to swim, ride and run their way to glory.

This weekend brings United Way of McPherson County's ninth annual triathlon, in which participants compete in a 200-meter swim, 7-mile bike ride and 2-mile run. They can complete the course individually on in three-person teams, with each team member completing a different leg of the triathlon.

It also kicks off United Way of McPherson County's fundraising season to provide grants to county non-profit organizations through the coming year.

"Obviously, it supports us in all the good we do," said Stuart Dille, executive director of United Way of McPherson County. 'It's a fun triathlon. It's not too difficult, so if anyone is thinking about doing one, this is a good one to do."

The triathlon will begin at the McPherson Water Park, 511 N. Lakeside Drive, McPherson, and all legs of the race will begin and end there. The swimming leg will take place in the pool, and the biking and running legs will take place in the streets surrounding the water park.

So far, about 180 people have signed up to participate. They can compete against each other, a personal record, or just to prove they can complete a triathlon.

The race begins at 8 a.m., with check-in from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. This year, Guinness World Record holder Aaron Yoder, from Lindsborg, will be present to help with awards. He holds the record for fastest time running 1 mile backwards.

People have until Thursday to register for the triathlon. Cost is $50 for individuals or $90 for teams, with the proceeds supporting United Way grants.

Any McPherson County nonprofit can apply to receive United Way support. In the past, groups like the McPherson Family YMCA, the Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Center, United Cerebral Palsy, Heart 2 Heart Child Advocacy, Meals on Wheels and Circles of McPherson County have received support from United Way.

Dille said United Way's annual fundraising campaign, which kicks off in September, has set a goal of $250,000, which is $25,000 more than last year.

"We decided to set that after analyzing our needs," he said. "When the economy is down, that raises how much funding people ask from us, so simply put, the higher goal is because we have more needs."

To register for the triathlon, contact Dille at 620-241-5152.