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Participants Gear Up For 2nd Annual TriWaco

July 23, 2010

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In the summer of 2008, Rick Tullis participated in a triathlon in Temple, TX. However, this would be the last race, as the venue's pool was to become a spray park. Rather than give up on having a triathlon in Central Texas, Tullis thought, 'Why not bring a triathlon to Waco?' In 2009, Waco hosted the first annual TriWaco event, garnering over 600 participants that year.

However, the first TriWaco wasn't the first triathlon in Waco. Waco's first triathlon was in 1980, and the annual tradition continued 11 more years until 1991. And, yes, in 1987 a fifteen-year-old athlete by the name of Lance Armstrong competed in the Waco Triathlon and set a record of 1:58:17.

This year the tally is up to 930 registrations for Sunday's 2nd Annual TriWaco event, and there will be two courses a sprint distance and an Olympic distance. Alex Olson is an athletic trainer. He heard about the TriWaco event last year, but wasn't able to train in time to participate. Olson started training in January for this year's race--his first triathlon.

The TriWaco is an image builder for the Waco community. It brings in people from out of state and from all over Texas. And for good reason, Waco has a premier venue with the Brazos River and Cameron Park. It seems even Waco natives are seeing their city in a new light. The Waco Chamber of Commerce and the City of Waco have hosted TriWaco the last two years. Steve Smith is Senior Vice President of Sports and Special Events at the chamber.

7 a.m. Sunday participants will take their mark. The Olympic distance triathlon starts with a 1500-meter open water swim in the Brazos River followed by a 25-mile bike ride on country roads north and west of Waco. The last leg of the race is a hilly 10-kilometer run along the Brazos that leads to the suspension bridge downtown. A bit shorter--the Sprint distance event includes a 400-meter, a 12-mile bike ride and a 5-kilometer run.

Leah Jackson completed her first triathlon last year at TriWaco in the sprint distance event. This year she's aiming to finish the Olympic distance event. Triathlons test the participant's endurance. Jackson says these events require both physical strength and mental stamina.

TriWaco is also an entertaining event for spectators. Tullis describes watching the race at last year's event.

For KWBU news, I'm Jacqueline Deavenport.

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