“This isn’t your weekend warrior outing. This is serious. This is a major event,” said Race Coordinator Shannon Kurek, of Alexandria, Ohio.
The race began Friday with a 250-meter swim, 5-mile bike ride and 1-mile run. It may seem like a lot now, but by the end of the weekend participants will face much more difficult challenges.
According to American Triple-T’s Web site, “This short race will be the first opportunity for participants to see what they are truly in for.”
The site explains that the swim starts off in time-trial format with participants going off every 1-3 seconds on a spectator-friendly 250 meter triangle swim course off the main beach at Turkey Creek Lake. Participants will then mount their bike for a 5-mile bike course along Route 125 that will feature a half-mile-plus climb up to the Mohican Resort and back. After completing this challenging 5-mile course participants will take on a relatively flat 1-mile run that turns around at the base of Lamp Black Run.
On Saturday morning, temperatures were already reaching into the 80s as participants turned things up a little.
They began with a 1,500-meter swim in time-trail format, with participants going off every 1-3 seconds on a two-lap counter clockwise rectangle swim course along the shoreline of Turkey Creek Lake. After that was a 40k bike ride (equal to about 25 miles) on Thompson Hill, and then a 6.55-mile run.
After only a few hours rest, race No. 3 — a Team Triathlon — began Saturday afternoon. Participants were challenged with a time-trial 40k bike ride on what the race considers the longest climb of the weekend, at Blue Creek Pass. After completing this challenging bike course participants took on a 1,500-meter swim and a 6.55-mile run.
Believe it or not, people come from all over to subject themselves to this intense physical challenge.
“I saw it on the Web site, and some friends of mine have done it before and I thought it would be fun,” Aaron Yocum, of Morgantown, W.Va., said.
Yocum said he has participated in many similar events, but this is the first time he has attempted the Triple-T in Shawnee State Park. He said he trains about 12 hours a week. The most challenging portion for him this year was the swimming.
“It’s hard. The first race wasn’t bad, but after the end of (Sunday), the cumulative factor is going to be challenging,” Yocum said.
Kurek agreed that participants need to be in excellent shape, and should be experienced triathlon runners if they want to compete.
“The terrain here in Portsmouth is ridiculous. A lot of people, even from Ohio, have no idea when they come down here. It’s unbelievable. It’s beautiful, but just ridiculously hard,” Kurek said.
For entering the race, participants each receive an Official American Triple-T Ohio Race singlet, towel, water bottle, shoe laces and pre-race and post-race dinners. Those who actually finish the race will also receive an official American Triple-T Ohio headsweats, hat and visor, finisher medal and finisher technical shirt.
Teams are divided into 12 categories: Male, Female and Coed Junior Teams (Age 0-48), Senior Teams (Age 49-79), and Master Teams (Age 80+); Male and Coed Clydesdale Teams, and Female Athena Team. Awards are given to the top three finalists in each division, which will receive custom American Triple-T Ohio awards.
The race will continue through today, as participants compete in a whopping 1.2-mile swim, followed by 55.5-mile bike on routes 125, 73, and 371; then ending with a 13.1-mile run. This leg of the race is easily regarded the “toughest half-ironman course known to man.”
This is the eighth year the race has been at Shawnee State Park.
“We couldn’t do this without the great support of Shawnee State Park and the forest. We basically come down here on a holiday weekend and take over the park,” Kurek joked.
More information can be found on its Web site, at www.americantriple-t.com.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext., 235, or e-mail email@example.com.