PORT JERVIS—There were clear skies, sun, and not too much heat for the inaugural Tri-State Triathlon in Port Jervis on Sunday.
The turnout was good for the first year, said co-organizer Neal Wilkinson, with 42 people racing individually and three relay teams.
“We like the numbers right now, they’re good for an inaugural event,” he said a few days before the race when he estimated about 60 people would be racing. “They’re very manageable for a first year.”
The race started out with a 600 meter swim in the Delaware from West End Beach, then a 16K bike ride through town, going down route 97 till the end of Hawks Nest and returning to West End Beach where racers transitioned to a 5K run through the heart of Port Jervis.
“It’s short,” said Steven Cercy, 51, a Manhattan resident who has been doing triathlons since 2009 and had already done four this summer.
He heard about the race online while looking for triathlons, and was familiar with and liked the area around Port Jervis.
“For me it’s about the course and having a nice course,” he said “The swim was nice, the bike course was beautiful.”
It was the right length for Sam Rodriguez, 24, from Manhattan who was doing a triathlon for the first time just to see if he could.
“It was hard. I should have trained a lot more for the swim,” he said, adding he chose the race because it had the shortest swim distance of any triathlon he could find.
Some racers said the current was a bit tricky and faster than they expected. Others said the rocky bottom made it difficult to get out.
All in all, most people were pleased with the coordination, weather, and length of the race, and most said they would do it again.
Wilkinson, who organized the event with the help of the Port Jervis Recreation Department Director, John Faggione, said he is already thinking about growing it for next year.
“We’d love to have 300 people next year,” he said. “We got the organization and the safety down. If you run it with 10 people or 300 people, it’s the same thing.”
Everyone got a medal for finishing, but the top three in the men’s and women’s division were recognized at the end with another medal.
Missy Denman, 32, from Wallkill placed first overall in the women’s division. She is an avid runner but had stopped doing triathlons for several years prior to this one. When asked if she imagined she would finish first, she said she didn’t think so.
Michael Bassett, 51, from Rock Hill, N.Y., was first in the men’s division. This was his fourth triathlon this summer and he said it was the best-organized event yet. His wife, Elizabeth Bassett, who placed second in the women’s division said they just came out to support the director, a colleague of Michael’s, and were excited to have a race so close to home.
“We appreciate the town supporting us crazy athletes,” she said, referring to Port Jervis.
Wilkinson said before the race that the inspiration was to make it a community event that introduced outsiders to the city, and he thinks it did just that.
“For the Port Jervis pride and spirit—I think we accomplished that today,” he said at the award ceremony.