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Pittsburgh Triathlon Marks First Year At Point State Park

This weekend marks 18 years for the Pittsburgh Triathlon, but this year, it’s a bit different.

The event will move from its North Shore location of years past to Point State Park.

Friends of the Riverfront holds the triathlon every year as part of its mission to highlight Pittsburgh’s rejuvenated riverfronts, said executive director Thomas Baxter.

“This weekend, we’re going to have athletes from around the country come swim in the Allegheny River, bike on the HOV lane and run along the Three Rivers Heritage Trail in a great competition that really showcases what makes the Pittsburgh region so unique,” Baxter said.

With the change in location comes a major change in the courses, he said. New paths include biking across some of Pittsburgh’s bridges and running along part of the North Shore segment of the 24-mile Three Rivers Heritage Trail, allowing for a more scenic view for the athletes, according to Baxter. These also allow for great spectator views, he said, from the park itself to the bridges that overlook the swim course.

Overall, he said, Point State Park is a welcome change.

“You have the great fountain in the background. You have more energy," he said. "It’s very alive, and you really have that Downtown, Golden Triangle feel."

The weekend features three competitions:

·         The Sprint Distance triathlon on Saturday includes a 600 meter swim race in the Allegheny, a 20K bike race and 5K run;

·         The Adventure Race, also Saturday, is the same course as the Sprint Distance but allows athletes to substitute a 2-mile kayak race for the swim; and

·         The International Distance triathlon on Sunday includes a 1.5K swim, a 40K bike ride and a 10K run.

The event also includes a free,  family-friendly vendor expo beginning Friday evening, a yoga session and a dance fitness class.

Baxter said Friends of the Riverfront will pay close attention to weather conditions leading up to race day and any potential effects on swim conditions. The event’s River Contact Policy says the triathlon will become a duathlon (run, bike, run) if there are any sewer overflow advisories from the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority.

They expect about 1,000 participants this weekend, some of whom are national and international triathletes, according to Baxter.

There is no prize money for top finishers. All proceeds go to the upkeep of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. Handmade trophies are given to first, second and third places in each division.

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