13th TRY seeks sun Sunday

Staff photo by Rodney Lopez

Bikers make their way out of Gregg Park during the TRY Knox County triathlon last June. The 13th annual event, along with its duathlon, takes place Sunday at the park and Rainbow Beach Aquatics Center.

Vincennes race expects 120 competitors

The weather in Indiana always plays a role in outdoor sporting events, no matter what time of year, and the TRY Knox County is no different.

But whether it's been near-frigid conditions as it was in 2014 or ideal temperatures that the event experienced the following year, the TRY has persevered.

Still, the hope is that the 13th edition of the TRY proves to be a lucky one, weather wise, as participants prepare to compete in the annual triathlon and duathlon on Sunday.

The event gets underway at 8 a.m. at Gregg Park and Rainbow Beach Aquatics Center. The triathlon consists of a 200-meter swim, 10-mile bike ride and 5K run, while the duathlon is a 5K run, 10-mile bike ride and another 5K run.

The weather didn't cooperate last year as storms rolled through the area and delayed the event by over three hours. Unfortunately, rain appears to be in the forecast again this year, as there was a 70 percent chance of showers Sunday as of Friday afternoon. But rain itself won't washout the event. It's the potential lightning that comes with it that's the primary concern.

“Front and center on my mind is the weather. We had a long delay due to lightning last year,” TRY co-director Karen Lane said. “Needless to say, we're hoping for clear skies on Sunday. We race in the event of rain, but lightning is the real issue.”

Assuming the weather cooperates, the TRY shouldn't look any different than it has in years past. Triathlon participants patiently wait their turn at the Rainbow Beach pool to begin with the swim portion. After that, they quickly don their helmets and tennis shoes before hopping on their bike to trace the 10-mile path down Washington Avenue and onto old Highway 50, circling back toward the park around Anson and Overhead roads in Fritchton. After parking their bikes, they turn to the running portion, which takes runners up into the heights and around Franklin Elementary School.

The running route was a new addition last year, as the previous route, which was a bit flatter, took runners a bit further west on Washington Avenue.

“The run route is the same. We and the officials love the new route,” Lane said. “It is a bit shorter, but we had no issues with the new route last year. Sometimes change is good, even if it involves a hill or two.”

Another new thing was the family division, allowing parents to compete along with their children. It's still around this year, but Lane said only four families had signed up as of Wednesday.

The number of entrants has fallen for the 13th annual race. After an uptick last year brought the numbers to around 180, Lane only expected about 120 this year, though registration is still open.

“Our numbers are down a bit from last year. I just had the Evansville Y reach out to me (Monday). They were wondering if we were experiencing the same issue. So maybe it's happening all over,” Lane said. “(Vincennes Parks Superintendent) Steve (Beaman) and I are still pleased with the numbers though. All through the TRY season, people told me they need to get back at it, and they even reminisced about their TRY years. We often ask ourselves, how do we get them back into it? If anyone has the answer, we are all ears. I miss seeing some of the women who were involved in the early years.

“We have a few more newcomers this year, but it's a bit more difficult to track than it used to be.”

The average age of participants this year is 34, with the oldest being 65. The male-female split is closer to 50-50 this year, with 53 percent female. Last year the percentage was 61 female. As of Tuesday, half of the participants registered were Knox County residents.

Ultimately, the primary goal of the event is to promote health and wellness in the area, and all proceeds from the TRY are used for the betterment of Vincennes Parks.

“Our main goal of this race is to get people moving,” Lane said. “Studies have shown how beneficial moving is for us. We have to have a goal to keep us moving, and the TRY is great for that.”

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