Endorphin Fitness recently announced that on May 4 the Liberty University Online Academy East Coast Triathlon Festival will return to the Innsbrook Office Park in Glen Allen. The “Elite Cup” race is one of three national races in which youth and junior elite triathletes compete for a chance to qualify for the National Championships held in Ohio in August. Now in its second year, the day of racing has become an early-season highlight for local and national triathletes.
“This is the only elite qualifying race on the East Coast and has become a critical event in the lead up to the National Championships,” said Michael Harlow, founder and head coach of Endorphin Fitness. “These young kids are our next generation of Olympians. Being able to produce a high quality race that matches the level of the competition is our focus.”
Endorphin Fitness, which is organizing the day’s events, anticipates 750 elite junior athletes, amateur kids and adults will compete across three separate race formats. The races include a kid’s fun race for ages seven to 15; a super sprint distance for amateur youth and adults; and the headline youth/junior elite cup event. The elite race, which is a draft-legal Olympic-style format, will draw the top 13 to 19 year olds from across the country and Canada. Endorphin Fitness expects more than 1,200 spectators and family members to watch the day’s activities.
This year’s event will also include a group of disabled athletes from United Athletics, an organization that pairs able-bodied athletes with individuals that require physical assistance. “The day’s events are not just about elite competition. [We want to encourage] an active community through triathlon. We were very purposeful in structuring the race distances to enable inclusion, from beginners to experienced athletes, as well as disabled athletes,” Harlow said.
Eric Glymph, a local athlete, competed in the amateur event last year while his son, Adam, raced the junior elite race.
“I was so impressed with the 2013 East Coast Triathlon Festival,” Eric Glymph said. “I have attended many youth elite races and other triathlons across the country, and this was by far the best organized race and best venue I have been to.”
Last year’s East Coast Triathlon Festival brought athletes to Richmond from 33 states as well as 19 athletes from Canada.