Tri Aroostook coming to the region on Saturday, June 30 at UMPI

12 years ago
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Photo courtesy Jonathan Kelley
Jonathan Kelley takes part in the Polar Bear Triathlon downstate. Kelley is organizing a sprint triathlon to be held in Presque Isle on Saturday, June 30 to introduce the area to the sport and raise money for the breast cancer support group, Pink Aroostook.

By Jon Gulliver
Staff Writer

PRESQUE ISLE — When many people think about triathlons the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon comes to mind. The long swim, the more than 100-mile bike ride and marathon run which leads to the collapse of the competitors once they cross the finish line. That makes for good television, but doesn’t inspire many people to take up the sport.

More common and much more popular are sprint triathlons, which consist of a roughly 750-meter (0.47 mi) swim, 20-kilometer (12 mi) bike ride and a 5K (3.1 mi) run, and one is coming to Aroostook County.

Registrations are being accepted for Tri Aroostook, which will be held on Saturday, June 30 at the University of Maine Presque Isle.

Race director Jonathan Kelley, of Presque Isle, is a triathlon veteran.

“It’s a fun mix of three disciplines — swimming, biking and running,” Kelley said.

Tri Aroostook features at 525-yard swim (10.5 laps) in the Gentile Hall pool, a 10.25-mile bike along scenic Presque Isle roads and a 3.1-mile run off road in the fields and trails adjacent to UMPI.

Kelley said this would be considered a good triathlon for people new to the sport.

“You can kind of get burned out on running or burned out on biking,” he said. “It is also great for people who want to enter a relay team — one person can swim, another can bike and the third can run, or with two people, one person does two events and the other one.”

Cary Medical Center and Astra Zeneca are the primary sponsors of the event so far. Kelly said Daigle Oil Company has also contributed. The sponsors are needed because 100 percent of the registration fees are going to Pink Aroostook, a breast cancer support group sponsored through Cary Medical Center.

“We are looking at $7,000 to $10,000 to be donated to Pink Aroostook,” said Kelly.

This isn’t the first time Kelly has worked on a fundraiser for a cancer support group. He also organized the Spokes for Hope bike ride, which raises money for cancer charities in Maine.

In addition to being a fund raiser Kelley has other reasons for bringing a triathlon to northern Maine.

“It’s also to promote a healthy lifestyle for the residents of Aroostook County,” said Kelley. “Biathlon came to the region and people gave that a try and I hope they will do the same for triathlon.”

He also wanted to give people a chance to try a triathlon without having to travel to Bangor or further south.

Being a seasoned triathlete Kelley is taking what he has learned at more than two-dozen other events and incorporating it into organizing Tri Aroostook.

“There should be an amazing atmosphere which should rival any race I have ever been in,” he said.

Kelley said this is a USA Triathlon sanctioned event, which should help attract athletes from other parts of the state, but he doesn’t want that to discourage local people from getting involved.

He has capped the registration at 150 athletes, which he said is a lofty goal.

The entrance fee is $50 for an individual or $75 for a relay team. The fee includes the event, a T-shirt and other extras.

More information and registration can be found online at www.triaroostook.com. Race details can also be found on Facebook.

Later this year youngsters will be introduced to the sport of triathlon. The University of Maine at Presque Isle, Healthy Aroostook and TAMC will hold “REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 9.

That event will feature a 50-yard swim, a two-mile bike and a half-mile run for children ages 7-9. The 10-13 age bracket will have a 100-yard swim, 2.5-mile bike and a one-mile run.

Registration for the event can be found at www.redyyouthtriathlon.org or for more information contact Reegan Brown at 768-3030 ext. 633.