The 12th annual Nation’s Triathlon literally got off to a flying start just after sunrise at 7:00 am on Sunday, September 10 in West Potomac Park in Washington D.C. under favorable conditions. Nearly 2,000 amateur and 20 professional triathletes, ages 18 to 83, took to the 69-degree waters of the Potomac River, and the streets of the District of Columbia.
Jason West of Bucks County Pa. won the men’s pro title with a time of just over 1 hour and fifty minutes for the multiple stage competition which included a 1500 meter swim in the Potomac River, a 40K cycling test and a 10K run past many of our national monuments. (Another shorter “sprint” course was added this year as an option to the “olympic” course.) Sarah Haskins of Eureka Mo. took the women’s pro title with a time of 2 hours and three minutes. This was the first time the Nation’s Triathlon had ever hosted a field of professional triathletes and a prize purse of $20,000. Haskins competed in triathlon at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and is the 2011 Pan American Games Gold medalist. West is coming off recent 1st and 2nd place finished in his last two triathlons. Former D.C. mayor Adrian Fenty was also a participant (as an amateur) in this year’s race.
It has always been touch and go regarding the status of the swim portion of the competition. Last year, race organizers ruled that the athletes wouldn’t be able to swim in the Potomac due to high levels of E. coli bacteria, the fourth time in the event’s 12 year history that the swim portion was cancelled, which effectively turned the event into a duathlon instead of a triathlon. Hoping to avoid future swim cancellations, this year the Nation’s Triathlon partnered with Potomac Conservancy to promote water cleanliness. In the end, the Department of Energy and Environment made the final call on whether the Potomac would be safe for swimming. The pollution status of the river should not just concern swimmers. After all, it is also the source of the District of Columbia’s drinking water.
View Jeff Malet’s photos from the 12th annual Nation’s Triathlon by clicking on the photo icons below.