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Triathlon attracting quite a crowd

CassadagaMan

Wilson Endurance Sports owner Mark Wilson directs traffic prior to the start of the CassadagaMan triathlon that took place earlier this month.

CASSADAGA — It appears the CassadagaMan Triathlon is on a pace to continue growth.

On Sept. 4, Wilson Endurance Sports held the second run of the CassadagaMan Triathlon. The event saw 150 competitors from all over the United States compete in a 1.2-mile swim around the Lower Lake in Cassadaga, followed by a 56-mile bike ride, ending with a 13.1-mile run.

The biggest win for the event was that of its size. The 150-person turnout was double the number of people from the event’s inaugural year. Mark Wilson, owner of Wilson Endurance Sports, said they were able to sneak the event right in while COVID-19 restrictions were still lenient.

“It went very well,” Wilson said. “We doubled the size of the field since COVID restrictions were more lenient at that time. It’s getting bumpy now but we made it. We had athletes from all over the country. It was massive.”

Participants from California to the East Coast came to take part, and Wilson was happy to report that the event was accident free. In order to help prepare the Village for the influx of visitors and warn people of the roads being used, Wilson and the rest of the event coordinators took extra steps to make sure residents knew what was going on.

“The athletes loved the event,” Wilson said. “We did a bulk mailing to all residents on roads that would be used and that worked out great. People stayed home or left town, whatever it took to keep the roads clear. We had no incidents whatsoever. Everyone was safe and happy and had a wonderful time.”

One major difference between CassadagaMan and other events of its nature are that other events often feature a cutoff time for one event.

Wilson understands that everyone has a different set of skills, and wants them to be able to use them. People can take as long as they want to finish the event, and are allowed to move at their own pace for their comfort and safety.

“It’s a long day,” Wilson said. “We don’t have cutoff times, while other organizations like Iron Man have cutoffs. If you don’t complete the swim in an hour, they stop you. Can you imagine training, getting here and bringing your family, then being taken off during the swim? You might not be a good swimmer, but you might be a fast cyclist or runner. Everybody brings different skills and we want to respect all three of them, while allowing you to do it at your own pace. Someone finished in over 10 hours. Whatever it takes for people to finish happily.”

The races also have a huge economic impact on the village and surrounding communities as well. In addition to Wilson Endurance Sports hiring local companies to help with the race, such as Jamestown Awning and Super Duper Catering, the influx of people coming in from other places serves as another boon.

“Obviously there are economic boosts happening,” Wilson said. “People came in from out of town, stayed at local hotels, ate at local restaurants, bought groceries, gas, and filled up AirBnBs. It was a huge success in that respect too.”

While most things did go smoothly, Wilson said one thing they’ve already come up with to improve for next year is the parking situation. Though it hasn’t officially been run by the Village yet, Wilson wants to use the Village ball fields for parking.

“We want to run a shuttle back and forth from the ball fields so people don’t have to walk the distance and there won’t be parking issues on the main roads,” Wilson said. “That way athletes, family members, and spectators won’t have to walk that distance and it keeps them off the main roads.

The winners of the individual triathlon were as follows: first place male, Ryan Lawrence from Union City, Pa., with a time of 4:47 followed by Mark Durno of Fairview Park, Ohio, in 5:09:16 and Cameron Townsend from Buffalo at 5:15:43.

Female winners were Blair Benson of Rochester; Rae Glaser of Webster in 5:46:41 followed by Kerry Potter of Harvey’s Lake, Pa., in 5:47:18.

Several relay teams competed with the winning team coming in at 5:11:04 made up of local participants Addison Lawson & Mindy Lawson-Crabtree of Frewsburg and Greg Brink of Jamestown.

An additional 15 athletes finished the AquaBike race; competing in the swim and bike leg only.

More details of the event and the complete list of participants and results can be found at www.CoachMarkWilson.com

The day was made possible by the 40-plus volunteers out on the courses keeping our athletes safe and hydrated.

Next year’s date has been set for Sept. 3.

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