The First Responders triathlon and duathlon will make its return to Bethany Beach for the third year on Sept. 21, for an all-weekend event that should see an estimated 800 participants.
This year’s race is again sponsored by presenting sponsor Meris Properties and official bank sponsor PNC Bank, and will raise money for the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company.
“We can’t do it without the sponsors — it is an expense-rich event,” said Race Director Rick Hundley after citing the charity event’s various expenses.
As was the case last year, the 1,000-meter swim, 30K bike ride and 7.5K run will incorporate various age-group divisions; however, this year, the race will add an Open Elite division, as well, which will launch first.
“There’s a criteria that you have to meet to go into that — we call it racing off the front,” Hundley explained.
Last year’s champion, C.W. Moore, will not be in that division this year, after getting his pro card and having to race another triathlon that day.
“Our defending champion, C.W. Moore, will not be coming back this year,” Hundley said. “He wrote a very nice email, mentioned that this was his favorite triathlon.”
While the elite racers will lead the way, the beginners’ division will start last — something for which Hundley explained there was also a reason.
“The theory behind that is that our lifeguards can pay more attention to them in the water,” he noted.
Also similar to last year, the race weekend will kick off with a welcome party for all participants at the Starboard in Dewey Beach on Friday, Sept. 19, from 7 to 11 p.m., with complimentary drinks, food and games, such as stationary bike races.
“It was a great time last year. We had about 150 people show up. This year, we’d like to see more people,” said Hundley.
Racers can also pick up their race packets at the welcoming party on Friday before the race this year, or wait until Saturday, as they did last year.
On race day, swimmers will hit the water at 7:30 a.m. and the athletes will compete until the post-race party, which is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. at Mango’s in Bethany Beach. Bethany Blues will be providing the barbecue, with 3rd Wave Brewery putting on their beer garden for the awards ceremony.
“You finish the race — you got great drinks, you got great food, you got great music. Why wouldn’t you want to be here?” Hundley said. “It’s a great venue.”
Despite all the fun and money being raised for Station 70, Hundley mentioned that economic impact for the area is one of the race’s other objectives.
“Economic impact is definitely our goal. It’s the reason it’s in September and not in August,” he said.
To find out more or to see if any registration spots remain available, visit www.bethanybeachtri.com.