Monday, March 01, 2010

Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon

            Athletes who compete regularly in triathlons have to be exceptionally fit. Those who plan to compete in this year's Smith Mountain Lake Triathlon need to be exceptionally hardy as well.

            The event takes place the first Saturday in May each year when water temperatures are typically in the mid-60s. With Southwest Virginia's bitterly cold winter, the lake likely will be considerably chillier come May 1.

            "One more week would have made a difference, especially as cold as this winter has been,"said Peter Lampman, president of Virginia Amateur Sports, which organizes the event.

            Still, Lampman said he expects approximately 550 athletes to converge on Smith Mountain Lake State Park for the competition, which is comprised of a 750-meter swim, 12-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run.

            Participants can compete individually or as part of a relay team. In addition to overall prizes for men and women, athletes are recognized in several age and weight categories.

            Lampman said becoming part of the Virginia Triathlon Series, which is comprised of 21events throughout the state, has contributed to the growth in participation for the SML event.

            "We've also seen a lot of growth from people outside the state," Lampman said, noting that only 144 athletes competed in the SML Triathlon 13 years ago. "We've had 10,15, 20 states represented at different times over the years."

            For those who sign up before April 1, the cost to compete in the event is $65 for an individual and $110 for a relay team. The price goes up to $70 for an individual and $120 for a team for athletes who register April 2-28. Participants may register on race day. Fees are $75 for an individual and $130 for a relay team. In addition, a $10 fee applies to all athletes who are not members of USA Triathlon.

            Race-day registration runs from 7 to 8:15 a.m. It will be followed by a mandatory pre-race meeting at 8:45.; the triathlon start at 9.   


For more information on competing in or volunteering for the SML Triathlon, visit commonwealthgames.org/smltriathlon.htm or call Virginia Amateur Sports at 540.343.0987.