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Top Athletes from Across the U.S. Share Excitement About Competing in Duathlon Nationals
ORO VALLEY, Ariz. — Hundreds of duathletes converged on Friday in Tucson/Oro Valley, Ariz., preparing to compete against the nation’s top run-bike-run athletes in this weekend’s USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, presented by TriSports.com.
A record field of nearly 800 elites, age-groupers and paraduathletes will be chasing national titles in both standard-distance (5-kilometer run, 35-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run) and sprint-distance (2.5k run, 17.5k bike, 2.5k run) races, hosted by Ventana Medical Systems for the third consecutive year.
Athletes have come from all over the United States for the opportunity to compete at this top-class event.
“Just being here is thrilling,” said Lysa Jones, who has traveled from Philadelphia with her husband and close friend to compete in the sprint race. She’s been racing in multisport events since 2009 and hopes to make Team USA.
For 73-year-old Joe Rivera, competing at nationals is a great opportunity to meet fellow athletes in his age group and be surrounded by so many great competitors. After having quadruple bypass heart surgery 13 years ago, every event is a great accomplishment.
“I want to be on top because I’m a competitor,” said Rivera. “But if I finish and I say ‘you know what, I did the best I could,’ that’s all I could hope for and I’m happy.”
Participants have spent the day picking up their packets, touring the expo and getting a first glimpse at the course.
Standard-distance age-grouper Ernie Cortes is excited about the event’s atmosphere. “[My goal is] to use the whole energy and adrenaline from the race to better the times of my 5ks and 35k,” he said.
The national championship weekend kicks off Saturday at 7:30 a.m. PT with the standard-distance Elite Duathlon National Championships. For age-groupers, standard-distance Duathlon National Championships will follow with the first wave set to take off at 7:45 a.m. Racing will resume at 11:45 a.m. for the first wave of the sprint race for age-groupers and paraduathletes.
Duathlon Nationals is the sole qualifying event for the age-group 2014 Standard- and Sprint-Distance ITU Duathlon World Championships in Pontevedra, Spain, on May 31-June 1, 2014. The top 18 finishers in each age group, rolling down to 25th place, will qualify for Team USA.
For more information about the USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships, visit the event website at usatriathlon.org/DU13coverage.
USA Triathlon will provide race commentary and live results for the events on a live blog beginning at 7:30 a.m. PT. Click here for the live blog page to follow the action.