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On Sunday, Aug. 26, the first-ever Rev3 Maine race will take place in the small, coastal resort town of Old Orchard Beach in southern Maine. The race will feature two distances—an Olympic-distance and a half-iron-distance race. Approximately 1,200 age groupers are signed up to race the two distances—split about 50-50 between the two, says Rev3 executive race director Eric Opdyke. Athletes are from six countries outside the U.S. and 33 states, and 70% of the athletes are from outside the state of Maine.
“We recognize New England as being a lot of opportunity for triathlon and still recognizing that there’s still some opportunity for growth in New England,” says Opdyke. In choosing the venue and planning the event, he worked with Will Thomas from the local event management company Tri-Maine.
“When Eric challenged me with the idea to come up with a venue, he said, ‘OK, so it needs to have a nice swim course, it needs to have plenty of nice biking nearby, it needs to have great running, a nice town with plenty of nice people to support the event, an amusement park hopefully nearby, it needs to have plenty of hotels nearby, needs to be a couple hours from a big city,’ and about 10 more things on top of that,” says Thomas. “Old Orchard Beach matched up to, on paper at least, to all the criteria Eric and Rev3 laid out because they’re very specific about what they need to make this thing successful and to fit their vision.”
While this will be the first-ever triathlon held in Old Orchard Beach, the town is a popular beach destination for New Englanders and Canadians, and is used to dealing with large crowds. “The question mark is, and you won’t know until race day, is how it’s going to impact the town and the traffic and how supportive the people will be,” says Opdyke. “We spent a lot of time on safety, which is a really hot topic in our sport right now, especially water safety. I believe that we’ve gone above and beyond, to the point where we’ve got a fire ladder that goes up 75 feet in the air so we can have a safety view on top of the swimmers. Multiple safety boats and multiple kayakers and lifeguards. This lifeguard team—they have to watch thousands of people a day, so this is nothing. They’re all geared up for this. I think the conditions are really favorable for the athletes, so we couldn’t really ask for a better weekend for the race.”
Opdyke says this race has been one of the most highly anticipated Rev3 races of the season, and Rev3 hopes it will grow, as Rev3 Quassy has, into a successful New England race. “We learn something every year in every race about what’s the right community for us to be successful,” says Opdyke. “It’s a really good indicator of the type of community that’s going to be successful. For us to have 1,200 athletes for a first-year event is a really good indication.”
The pro men’s race will include Richie Cunningham of Australia, who’s had a strong season (the 2012 winner of Rev3 Quassy, Portland and Wisconsin). Jesse Thomas of the U.S., two-time Wildflower Long Course champion and strong runner, will be racing, as well as four-time Xterra world champion Conrad Stoltz of South Africa. Also racing are Andrew Yoder, Brian Fleischmann and David Thompson. In the pro women’s race will be American Nicole Kelleher, who won Rev3 Wisconsin earlier this month. Also racing will be Lauren Goss, Becky Lavelle, Tenille Hoogland and Jessica Meyers.
Check back to Triathlete.com on Sunday for a full race report and a photo gallery from the pro race.