The 31st Annual Ridgway Triathlon will commence Saturday morning at 11 a.m.
The race will begin at 11 a.m. in front of the Elk County Courthouse on Main Street in downtown Ridgway. From there, runners will head down to the Clarion/Little Toby Trail for a 5-mile run. Bikers then will then make a 15-mile round trip on Portland Mills Road (state Route 949) before riding a canoe or kayak from Country Squirrel Outfitters to the finish line at the Portland Mills canoe launch.
"We have many participants from outside the area so it's nice to see that this even attracts people from outside our area," said Mary Lynne Bellotti, executive director of the Ridgway YMCA. "It's a lot of work organizing this event and it never really goes off without a hitch. It's just one of the challenges associated with putting on such an event like this."
There are 15 ironmen and women registered as of Thursday, four being from Elk County; 10 2-person teams, two being from Elk County; and nine 4-person teams.
"To be a true Elk County team, they all have to be from Elk County-- that's just a concept that was created years ago when this event was first started," Bellotti said. "We added a 'Just for Fun' event for people to come out and just try it, and not be stressed out about what their time was. We have three teams doing that, and one pair will be riding a bicycle for two.
"We're trying to change it up to get more people involved. On the other hand, I've had people call in December checking with me to see what the date is and making sure that we're still having the event."
With roughly 60 athletes signed up so far, Bellotti said the turnout has not fluctuated much over the years.
"A lot of people wait to see how the weather is and then come and register the morning of the event," Bellotti said. "The weather makes or breaks this event, and it's supposed to rain. Either way, it's an event that I enjoy and it's good for the community.
"We usually have 60 to 80 people every year, but I always wish there were more."
Pick up a copy of the Friday, April 27, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.