The Bethany Beach First Responders Triathlon-Duathlon, presented by Meris Properties, is back in action on Sept. 22, benefiting the Bethany Beach Volunteer Fire Company.
The yearly event’s festivities will begin on Friday, Sept. 20, at 7 p.m. with a pre-race party for the athletes and participants, hosted by The Starboard in Dewey Beach. A sports expo and health fair open to the general public with begin at 3 p.m. the next day, and the competition will officially begin at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday, to be followed by a post-race party on the bandstand and then at Mango’s in Bethany Beach.
“We want them to come for the weekend,” race director Rick Hundley explained. “You can’t get a room at the Hyatt in Dewey [during the event].”
That isn’t the least bit shocking when considering the more than 900 athletes already signed up to compete, including Ocean View’s own Lance Fargo — national champion triathlete in the 40-and-over Clydesdale division. The remaining spots for participants are dwindling, as the race will sell out at 1,000 athletes. It is made possible by more than 100 volunteers.
“We work all night to convert the town of Bethany for the event,” Hundley continued. “In about eight hours, we turn downtown Bethany into Disney World,” he added with a laugh.
The event is certainly about competition, but it will also put the focus on teaching the general public the safe way to prepare for and practice endurance training.
“We put a huge emphasis on safety for first-timers,” Hundley emphasized. That focus is made clear by the implementation of the health fair, sports expo and first-timers’ meeting, which will include a question-and-answer session. The open-water practice swim off the beach in Bethany, in front of Garfield Parkway, will be monitored by on-site lifeguards and coaches, as well.
Seashore Striders has also teamed up with Autism Speaks during the event, to raise money directly for its more than 30 participants.
With events like the Best Calves competition and parties planned for participants all weekend, organizers said it’s important to realize that the event is also about having fun and raising money for an important cause.