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Now in its 12th year, the Musselman Triathlon, held every July in Geneva, N.Y., has become an entire triathlon weekend with a kids race and super-sprint race on Friday, a sprint race on Saturday and the signature half-iron-distance Musselman Triathlon on Sunday. Between the three adult races, organizers are expecting about 1,700 participants.
The event is held in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, known for its crystal-clear waters and scenic backdrops. The bike course takes triathletes through Finger Lakes wine country, past Mennonite-farmed fields (participants are warned to watch out for obstacles left behind by horse-and-buggies returning from church on Sunday morning) and along the shores of Seneca Lake. The run traverses the streets of Geneva, and is known equally for a grueling hill on Barracks Road and the number of townspeople standing with hoses in front of homes, watering down athletes as they recover from the hill climb.
The race was named an “Editor’s Choice” race by Triathlete magazine in 2013; we also cited the Musselman in the “Most Family Friendly” category in 2009 and 2010. Despite the national recognition (and participants who come from across the U.S. and Canada), race organizers pride themselves on keeping the race feeling as “local” as possible, such as by using locally sourced produce as well as locally sourced award manufacturing.
Race director Rich Clark notes that the entire city of Geneva appears to have been bitten by the triathlon bug, as evidenced by welcome signs posted all across the city on Musselman weekend, contributing to the “festival atmosphere” race participants often cite as a favorite aspect of the race.
“In 2004, the race’s first year, 19 athletes local to Geneva took part in the Musselman,” Clark says. “By 2014, that number had risen to 102. We’ve watched people go from volunteering to training to becoming full-fledged triathletes.”
Just as satisfying, Clark says, is watching young people grow with the race.
“In 12 years of involvement with this event, I’ve had the privilege of watching triathletes start off as MusselKids, and graduate to the sprint tri and even the Musselman,” Clark says.
The race gives back to the community, as well: Since 2004 the Musselman Triathlon has donated more than $130,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, and Team Mussel, a group of local Geneva students coached by teachers and volunteers in preparation for the MusselKids race.
What: Musselman Triathlon
Where: Geneva, N.Y.
When: July 10-12, 2015
Distance: Half-iron, sprint, super-sprint
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