Swim, pedal, run!!!

Published 6:27 am Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Staff Writer

In June 2008, the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce hosted the first Washington Sprint Triathlon. In August 2009, it followed with the Washington Olympic Triathlon.
On Saturday, the chamber will combine the two by hosting the Washington Olympic Triathlon and Sprint Triathlon in Washington Park.
The Olympic Triathlon begins at 7 a.m. with a 1,500-meter swim in the Pamlico River. Contestants come out of the water for a 28-mile bicycle ride to Goose Creek State Park and back. Upon their return to the transition area, they ditch the wheels for running shoes and conclude with a 10k run through the streets of Washington Park to the finish line.
The Sprint Triathlon, a scaled-down version of the Olympic Triathlon, begins at 7:30 a.m. and features a 750-meter swim, an 18-mile bike ride and a 5k run over the same course.
So far, 196 people have taken advantage of early registration for the Olympic Triathlon, and 68 people have signed on for the Sprint Triathlon.
Greenville’s Frank Fisher, 41, could be considered an early favorite in the Sprint as he set the standard by winning the 2008 race in 1:17:35.9. He is registered to compete this year.
As for local competitors to watch, 47-year-old Eddie Cournoyer of Washington finished second in the 45-49 age group (2:44:13.8) in the 2009 Olympic and hopes to improve this year. Washington Park’s Richard Pfeiffer, 17, moves up a class after finishing second in the 14-15 age group (1:49:44.9) in the 2008 Sprint.
Catherine Glover, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, anticipates hundreds of visitors flooding into town for the event, including entrants and spectators from as far away as Florida, New York, New Hampshire and Montana. The 2008 race had less than 100 participants, while the 2009 competition grew to nearly 120. With two races this year, registration could swell to 300 or more.
“Most of the people in the race spend (Friday) night to be there to register before 6 (a.m. Saturday),” Glover said. “Their families come to cheer them on, and they usually don’t rush back. They spend the weekend looking around town and shopping.”
“We hope in the future, as this continues to grow, that we will provide a dinner the night before and do it during Music in the Streets. But it takes a couple years to build on your numbers,” she said.
For more information on the Olympic Triathlon and the Sprint Triathlon, go to http://www.fsseries.com or call the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce at 252-946-9168.