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American mile record holder Alan Webb will make his triathlon debut this Sunday at the Pan American Triathlon Confederation Mixed Relay Pan American Championships in Sarasota, Fla. This is the first time the mixed relay, which the ITU hopes will be included in the Olympics in the future, will be held as part of the PATCO championships. Webb will have another fast runner, fellow American Lukas Verzbicas, on his team. Webb will not compete in the elite men’s race, which will take place on Saturday.
Read more about the mixed relay race from USA Triathlon below:
Top U.S. elite triathlon talent will be on display Sunday at the first-ever Pan American Triathlon Confederation (PATCO) Mixed Relay Pan American Championships, held here at Nathan Benderson Park.
The mixed relay format, also referred to as 4 x Mixed Relay by the International Triathlon Union (ITU), was introduced in 2009 and consists of four athletes – two men and two women – each completing a super sprint triathlon before tagging their teammate. Sunday’s event will begin at 8:30 a.m. ET and each athlete will swim 350 meters, bike 6.4 kilometers and run 2 kilometers.
The United States plans to field at least seven teams, including a squad composed of history-making runners Alan Webb (Beaverton, Ore.), the current American mile record holder who is making the switch to multisport following a legendary running career, and Lukas Verzbicas (Chula Vista, Calif.). Webb and Verzbicas are two of only five U.S. high school runners to have ever clocked sub-four minute miles.
In addition to Webb and Verzbicas, U.S. athletes set to compete include Ryan Bice (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), Kaitlin Donner (Satellite Beach, Fla.), Avery Evenson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Luke Farkas (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.), Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), Eric Lagerstrom (Gresham, Ore.), Sara McLarty (Clermont, Fla.) and Jarrod Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.). Complete team rosters will be confirmed Saturday evening prior to Sunday’s race.
As the Continental Championship for the Pan American Confederation, only one team from each PATCO nation will be counted in the final results. The start list currently includes a total of 12 teams from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Click here to view the start list.
Given the non-stop action, audience and television appeal and on-course gender equity, the ITU is striving to add the mixed relay format to the program for the Olympic Games. The ITU first held a mixed relay world championship event in 2009 at the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, Iowa, and the format was included as part of the first-ever Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore. In 2013, the U.S. team of Gwen Jorgensen, Ben Kanute, Sarah Groff and Cameron Dye earned a bronze medal at the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. USA Triathlon has held a mixed team relay event as part of its Collegiate National Championships since 2012.