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Triathlon News & Notes: Non-Binary Division at Alcatraz, Triathletes Head to Unbound Gravel, and State Championships Offered

The news from around the multisport world this week.

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Escape from Alcatraz triathlon offering a non-binary division 

For the first time in its 41-year history, the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon is offering a non-binary category for competitors when it goes off this Sunday, June 5. “This is the evolution—we’re moving with the times,” race organizer Jen Lau said. “Really, it’s about fostering and providing equal opportunities for people to participate. And it’s really about broadening and diversifying, I think, the athletic field.” The race’s “open” division recognizes those athletes who do not identify as either male or female, and awards will be given to the top three, just as they are in gender-specific divisions. Chip Vau, a Vermont-based massage therapist who will be racing in the non-binary category, acknowledged the change as a watershed moment in the sport, saying, “I think it’s just acknowledging all humans. It’s just going to allow me to live my best life, really.”

Rach McBride hitting Unbound in Kansas

Rach McBride, the first non-binary athlete to compete in pro triathlon, won’t be racing at Escape from Alcatraz, but will be among the triathletes (including fellow pro Heather Jackson) testing their cycling skills at Unbound in Emporia, Kansas this weekend. Considered the world’s biggest gravel race, the 200-mile race will draw the world’s best off-road cyclists.

RELATED: 10 Women to Watch at Unbound Gravel & 10 Men to Watch at Unbound

Speedy pro Beth Potter reveals she runs less than 30 miles per week

Track and field-focused publication Athletics Weekly ran a feature on Scottish pro triathlete Beth Potter, revealing a look at her typical training week as she gears up for the Commonwealth Games, set for later this summer. The 31-year-old Potter, who recently won the Arena Games triathlon world champs, went viral last April after she posted the fastest women’s road 5K in history (14:41) at a relatively low-key race in the U.K. (the world record could not be ratified due to a lack of drug testing on site). In the piece, Potter shared that she runs less than 30 miles per week, and spends most of her training time in the pool and on the bike. “I ran the 14:41 5K mainly off swim and bike,” she said. “My running was just complementing the huge aerobic engine that I had.”

RELATED: Beth Potter Just Ran a 5K World Record—So Why Is She Still Doing Triathlon?

State Championships offered across the country

Always wanted to be a state champion? It’s not too late, thanks to USA Triathlon’s relatively recent move to designate one race in each state as a championship race. These events, which take place throughout the summer, not only crown a state champion in each age group, but they also qualify the top 35% or top five finishers in an age group (whichever is greater) to the USAT National Championship—normal qualification standards are the top 15% or top two in each age-group. There is also a special division for high school athletes. Click here to find a championship race near you.

Short documentary reveals a rare glimpse into Nicola Spirig’s personal side 

Switzerland’s Nicola Spirig—who is competing in the Phoenix Sub8 project this weekend—reveals a rare glimpse into her personal life through a short documentary entitled Nicola’s Spirit. The five-minute film, shot on location in Gran Canaria, showcases the 40-year-old’s rise and success in the sport, as well as her perspective of being a mom of three and a world class triathlete. The piece is also a tribute to Spirig’s legendary career; earlier this year, she announced her plans to retire from professional competition at the end of the season. 

Jamaica Triathlon gets monetary boost from Olympic committee 

In an effort to develop and boost the sport of triathlon throughout Jamaica, the country’s Olympic association invested JMD$1 million ($6,500 USD) in the Jamaica Triathlon Association (JTA), along with the gift of eight new bikes for training teams. This comes on the heels of the launch of the Inter-Schools Triathlon/Aquathlon Championships, set for June 18 in Kingston, which welcomes all Jamaican students from ages 6 to 21 to compete. The hope? To introduce youth athletes to the sport and possibly identify and develop young talent for potential representation in regional and global competitions. Thus far, Jamaica has only had one athlete compete on the Olympic level in triathlon: Ioana Wynter, who placed 34th at the 2000 Games in Sydney. 

Podcast Notes

  • The Triathlete Hour has Ruth Astle on to talk about her pacing duties for the Sub8 Project. Ruth won the 2019 age-group race in Kona and placed 5th in the pro race at St. George last month.
  • Eric & Paula on That Triathlon Life talk about their races at the Ironman 70.3 North American champs.
  • The IronWomen podcast has Paralympian and para-tri world champ Lauren Parker on—plus a quick chat with Kat Matthews ahead of Sub8 this weekend.
  • ProTriNews is also all about Sub7/8—with all the inside scoop from Kat Matthews’ husband, Mark.
  • And one more about the Sub7/8 effort, on-the-ground in Germany with MX Endurance.

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