This weekend will see the unveiling of the first Bethany Beach First Responders Triathlon-Duathlan, and its presence in the community should not be ignored.
For starters, it will be hard to ignore because the bike and run portions of the event will encompass Bethany Beach, North Bethany, the Indian River Inlet Bridge and South Bethany. For another reason, this will help replace the void left behind when the annual Make-A-Wish triathlon was moved inland from Sea Colony.
On the competitive side of things, this appears to be the real deal. It is sanctioned by USA Triathlon, and has been designated as a qualifying event for One of the Best of the US Amateur Triathlete Competition. The triathlon consists of a 1-kilometer (.62 miles) ocean swim, 30-kilometer (18.5 miles) bike portion and a 7-kilometer (4.35 miles) run. That is a physical test, by any measure.
There will also be medals awarded for various levels and age-group awards to go along with the obvious individual goals each participant will be trying to achieve. This will be a real event that attracts real triathletes.
But there’s another dimension to this event that should attract attention in this community. This is a fundraiser at its core, and money raised from the two-day celebration will go toward the fire and EMS services of the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company, with options to support Autism Speaks, Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic and Share-A-Lot, according to organizers. A bad economy over recent years has affected plenty of homeowners, workers and businesses, without a doubt, but it has also impacted fundraising. People have less money, so they obviously have less to donate. This event could really help organizations created to help others.
The race also should give a nice boost to many local businesses, including restaurants, rentals, hotels, bike shops and others. This is extremely valuable to those businesses as the summer season is winding down and people are trying to earn as much as they can to make it through the leaner winter months. Every little bit helps, particularly in these times, and an event that brings in people from other locations can only support the local economy.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company will host a pasta dinner buffet, sports expo and health fair from 4 to 8 p.m. Tickets for the pasta dinner will be available at a cost of $12 for adults and $5 for children under 10. The sports expo and health fair are free and open to the public.
The race itself will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23, on the beach at Garfield Parkway. The race will end at the Bethany Beach Bandstand.
We thank the organizers of this event for recognizing a need and putting forth the time and energy to make this a reality, and we also thank the sponsors for throwing their support behind it.