This Saturday, September 29th was the scheduled date for the 40th Annual YMCA Wrightsville Beach Sprint Triathlon. In celebration of its 40th year, this year’s event was expanded into a weekend-long festival to include new Youth Triathlon and Evening Swim events.
Due to the devastating effects of Hurricane Florence, the City of Wilmington and Town of Wrightsville Beach have advised that the roadways and channel are not safe for the bike and swim portions of the triathlon event. After much consideration, the YMCA made the call to move forward in hosting an event to benefit hurricane recovery efforts- although it will not be the traditional sprint triathlon.
The YMCA announced they will now host a 5K running event this Saturday, September 29th to benefit hurricane recovery efforts. The event will include a 5k race, food trucks, music and post-race beer at Lighthouse Beer and Wine. Arrangements are being made for the Youth Triathlon and Beer Social events, however, the Friday Evening Swim has been canceled due to the conditions of the channel.
This decision was made by a race committee made up of local business owners, athletes and community members who felt it was important to continue holding an event that will give the community a chance to come together, race, and support those who were impacted by Hurricane Florence.
“We feel having an event is part of the healing process for the Cape Fear region. Great things happen when people come together and while this may not be as much anymore about a celebration of the 40th anniversary of the YMCA WB Sprint Triathlon, it will bring athletes together to race and create a memory of hope, understanding, compassion and giving,” Tom Clifford, Race Director
The Y will now be donating a large portion of the proceeds towards local relief efforts.
With a focus on rebuilding the community, the Y is also collecting donated items to support those affected by the hurricane on race day. Items being collected include: Mops and buckets, cleaning masks, nonperishable food, baby diapers, baby formula, paper products, garbage bags, new socks, underwear and t-shirts, toiletries, bug spray, and pet food.
Additionally, the YMCA WB Triathlon is encouraging participants to help one of the volunteer organizations in town including Convoy of Hope, Samaritan’s Purse, Cape Fear Volunteer Center and the American Red Cross.
“We are doing our best to make a good thing out of a tragedy. The Y’s cause is strengthening community and rather than cancelling the event all together, we decided to turn it into an opportunity to support our neighbors and bring people together,” Sarah Gibbs, YMCA Financial Development & Marketing Director
Registration is still open, visit www.ymcawbtri.com for more information.
The YMCA Wrightsville Beach Sprint Triathlon is the oldest sprint triathlon in the United States, dating back to 1979. The traditional Sprint Triathlon includes a 1,200 yard open water swim, bike course around Greenville Loop and 5K run around Wrightsville Beach Park. This year marks the race’s 40th anniversary and will include additional events including an evening open water swim, beer social, youth triathlon and a post-race party at Lighthouse Beer and Wine on Wrightsville Beach.