Triathletes — young and old, beginner and experienced, from Sampson County and from out of state — and event organizers are making final preparations today for Saturday’s fifth annual Sampson County Super Sprint.
The triathlon, which includes a 250-yard pool swim, a 7-mile bike ride around Clinton’s industrial park, and a 2-mile walk/run, will begin tomorrow morning from The Center for Health + Wellness, located at 417 E. Johnson St., Clinton, at 9 a.m. Participants need to arrive no later than 7:45 a.m. in order to pick up their race packets and be marked with category indicators.
This evening from 5-7 p.m. participants can also drop by The Center for Health + Wellness, pick up their race packets early, and even take a look over the course in preparation for Saturday’s challenge. A pre-race meeting for the triathletes will also be held tonight at 6 p.m., and a meet and greet for event volunteers will be offered at 6:30 p.m. where T-shirts and race day responsibilities will be handed out.
As of Thursday afternoon there are 165 people signed up to participate in the Sampson County Super Sprint, ranging in age from 11 to 73. However, interested persons can still register for the triathlon on-site (online registration is now closed) through Saturday morning.
Among those already signed up for the race are two local 4-H teams, and 4-Her Shane Kendall is excited to be a member of one of the teams.
“I watched my mom and brother compete in the triathlon a couple years ago and have looked forward to turning nine years old so that I could participate,” he shared on Thursday. “I am fast and hope to be in the Olympics one day!”
“I think it is a great community event for both athletic contestants and those who are just looking for a challenge, even if that means walking the swim and run sections,” noted Shane’s mom and Sampson County 4-H Program assistant, Charmae Kendall.
“We are very excited to have six of our 4-H’ers representing our program and promoting fitness. Events like these are always fun because you can do it with friends,” she added. “They are not looking to win, but we are proud of each of them for having the courage to step outside their box and try a new experience.”
Dr. Tommy Newton, one of the event’s organizers, is also planning to participate in the triathlon and shared that he is looking forward to this year’s Sampson County Super Sprint because “it is a great opportunity to showcase our community to out-of-town athletes and their families” while also providing “local athletes the opportunity to challenge themselves to participate in the activities associated with a triathlon.”
“This race brings in a lot of out-of-towners,” Amanda Bradshaw, chairwoman of this year’s triathlon planning committee, agreed, guessing that around 75 percent of participants come from outside Sampson County. “It’s about helping to get Sampson County out there and on the map. It brings business into Clinton. Money isn’t everything but they (many race participants) will be spending the night here, eating here, bringing business here.”
“Of course, it’s also about promoting health and bringing awareness to health and wellness,” she continued, mentioning that some 225 people participated in last year’s event.
In addition to the triathlon being a fun event for the community and one that promotes health as well as brings attention to Sampson and all it has to offer, it’s also an important fundraiser for local organizations and projects.
The triathlon “benefits several worthy local causes. This year includes Sampson County 4-H, Fitness Renaissance, and the Clinton Downtown Revitalization project,” Newton pointed out, adding that the race also “brings in thousands of dollars to local businesses each year. Coupled with a downtown event — a car show — that is benefiting the Meth Task force the same day, there should be quite a crowd in Clinton on March 29.”
The car show —which will include motorcycles and tractors too —will be held in downtown Clinton from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow.
Earlier in the year when the triathlon planning committee was just starting to meet regularly to work on this year’s event, Bradshaw described race day as “motivational” and “humbling.”
“You just feed off the people’s energy and it makes you want to be healthier. I always come away from it so proud and motivated,” she said then. “It’s contagious; it’s hard not to want to do it.”
Bradshaw also encouraged those not up for participating in the race this year to come out and support the triathletes.
“We encourage those who aren’t competing to come out to watch and cheer the athletes during the triathlon,” agreed Newton. “That helps motivate an athlete tremendously.
To receive more information about Sampson County’s Super Sprint Triathlon, please visit http://fsseries.com/index.php?action=event&event_id=164.
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.