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Henderson Harbor Triathlon, Saturday, features Olympic distances

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HENDERSON HARBOR — The addition of an Olympic distances division to the 22nd annual Henderson Harbor Triathlon is expected to attract more serious athletes to the event Saturday at the boat launch on Route 178.

Registration is from 6:30 to 7:45 a.m. Olympic division participants will begin at 8:30 a.m., to give those who are running, biking and swimming distances twice as long as the sprint division a half-hour head start before the sprinters take off.

“We’ve had numerous requests over the years for Olympic distances,” said Barbara J. Peck, administration services director at the Children’s Home of Jefferson County, Watertown. “We want to make sure it keeps continuing to grow and is fresh.”

The triathlon is hosted by the Children’s Home and Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions. Proceeds will benefit Credo’s scholarship fund to help cover the cost of services for clients who cannot afford their full bill and the Children’s Home’s SoZo Teen Center, since it’s the agency’s only program that does not have the ability to raise revenue on its own.

Credo Executive Director James P. Scordo said he’s participated in the sprint division of the event since 1992 but will watch from the sidelines this year after a recent injury.

Mrs. Peck said individual and team participants will come from throughout the north country, the state and about 10 other states. Rick Cote, Fayetteville, said he’s raced the triathlon’s sprint distances about six times, and Saturday will be his first time racing here at Olympic distances of 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run.

“I think it’s good for the race; it’ll open up people for a different challenge,” he said. “The Henderson Harbor race is a special one with the park and location of it. It just keeps me wanting to come back.”

Mr. Cote, 49, said he has completed 44 triathlons around the world but likes coming back to the Henderson Harbor event since he spends time on Wolfe Island throughout the summer.

Fellow Olympic distance competitor Michael J. Harris, who is also a Children’s Home board member, said he is surprised, yet happy, at the number of Olympic division participants. Thus far, six teams and 42 people have signed up, while 18 teams and 96 people have signed up for the sprint division.

“It’s the one and only Olympic distance race north of Rochester that I am aware of,” he said.

Mr. Harris is also the director of the Lyme Triathlon, which is Aug. 4 in Chaumont. Both the Lyme and Henderson Harbor races are part of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Triathlon Series.

Mr. Harris and Mr. Cote are among nearly 300 participants in the annual race, which also offers sprint events of a 0.75k swim, 20k bike and 5k run. Discontinued this year was the duathlon, which Mrs. Peck said typically attracted only 20 to 30 participants. Mr. Scordo said although the event’s Olympic division is getting much attention, he hopes many people and teams continue to sign up for the sprint division.

While preregistration is closed, people can still sign up for the race as an Iron Person or as part of a team with up to three competitors for a higher fee. Those fees are $100 for Iron Person and $150 for a team for the Olympic competition, and $75 for Iron Person or $125 for a team for the sprint divisions. Checks, made payable to “Children’s Home of Jefferson County,” or cash can be dropped off to the Children’s Home, 253 State St., today, or at the event Saturday.

According to a Children’s Home news release, competitive race categories for both events include Iron Man, Iron Woman and Team, with several age brackets in each category. There will be a cookout after the race.

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