Race Radar: Ohio’s American Triple-T Triathlon

Athletes essentially race an iron-distance triathlon spread out over three days.

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The American Triple-T race in Portsmouth, Ohio, has earned an almost cult-like following from triathletes who race four triathlons in three consecutive days. The athletes, limited to 400 participants, race a super-sprint triathlon on Friday evening, an Olympic-distance triathlon both on Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon, then a half-iron-distance race on Sunday, adding up to more than 140 miles, or essentially an iron-distance race spread out over three days.

It takes place the weekend before Memorial Day ever year, and the course takes athletes through chilly spring-fed lakes, riding technically challenging hills and finishing with beautiful runs along the hilly trail systems. The race takes place at Shawnee State Park in Portsmouth, Ohio, in the southeast corner of the state, just a 1.5-hour drive from Columbus, Cincinnati and Tri State areas.

The idea came about because there used to be a French “Irontour” in a similar format but that was limited to only professionals. “I thought that could be really fun for amateurs, too, and we created the Ohio Irontour,” says Shannon Kurek, the race director for Triple-T. (Ironman asked them to change the name from Irontour.)

The biggest draw to the race, according to participants, is the people. “I think it’s the unique camaraderie that can’t be found at other single-day events,” Kurek says. Athletes wear a matching singlet, so it almost feels like racing as part of a team, and athletes rack their bikes in the same spot for all four races, so it’s an easy way to meet and build friendships with fellow triathletes.

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What: American Triple-T Ohio
Where: Shawnee State Park, Portsmouth, Ohio
When: May 15–17, 2015
Distance: 140+ miles (one super-sprint, two Olympics, one half-iron)
Website: Americantriple-t.com

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