NORWAY – Start training. The triathlon is coming to town.

The Western Foothills Land Trust is hoping to attract swimmers, bikers and runners to Lake Pennesseewassee this summer with a three-sport race July 19.

Profits from the event will support the trust’s efforts to create trails at the Roberts Farm Preserve, a 150-acre parcel on Pike’s Hill with views of the lake.

“The size of this triathlon is great,” said Lee Dassler, program coordinator at the trust. “None of the parts are huge.”

The triathlon will kick off with a one-kilometer swim at Penn Park. Swimmers will follow a triangular loop around two buoys before returning to shore. Wet suits are allowed, and boats with lifeguards and medical personnel will be on hand.

From the lake, bicyclists will follow a 15-kilometer course up Greenwood Road before returning along Norway Center Road. The route contains an aid station, although racers must bring their own water.

The race finishes with a five-kilometer run along Route 117, Country Club Road, Sodom Road, and Ashton Road. An aid station will be provided at the midway point.

“By next year, they’ll run the foot race at the Roberts Farm,” Dassler said.

The parcel, which was used as an agricultural and dairy farm by the Pike and Roberts families from 1787 to 2000, was purchased by the land trust in 2007 after plans for a technology park on the site fell through. The trust plans to build recreational trails on the site for walking, running, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Dassler said the possibility of a triathlon had been discussed by Oxford Hills natives Scott Berk of Otisfield, Mark White of Virginia and Matt Woods of New York. She said she had also contemplated the idea, and the trust got involved after she discussed it with Berk.

“It’s a short triathlon. It’s a sprint,” said Berk, who owns the Cafe Nomad in Norway. “So I think it’s certainly possible for anyone with a moderate degree of fitness to finish it.”

Berk estimated that 40 to 50 volunteers will be needed to help run the event.

Registration fees are $65 for an individual competitor or $95 for a three-person team. The race will be sanctioned by USA Triathlon, and participants who are not members of the organization must purchase a $10 one-day registration to be covered by insurance.

Berk said the entries will be limited to 100, although a three-person team counts as one entry.

The event will be followed by an awards ceremony with refreshments, music and a raffle. The triathlon will not be rescheduled if canceled due to inclement weather, but will only be canceled if the weather presents a danger to the race participants or volunteers.


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