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1,000 to compete in first-year Annapolis event


Many Maryland triathletes eager for a new venue will converge on Annapolis tomorrow.

That's the site of the Bud Light Annapolis Triathlon, which begins at 7:30 a.m. at St. John's College.

"We have about 1,000 people signed up now, which is very unusual for a first-year event," said Brad Jaeger, the director of Tri-Maryland Triathlon Club, which runs the event. "We never expected this high of a number for the first year."

The triathlon begins at St. John's College with a 1.5-kilometer swim (.9 mile) in College Creek, followed by a 40-kilometer bike race (24.8 miles) over the old Severn River Bridge and through Anne Arundel County and Sandy Point State Park. The race ends at St. John's after a 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) run through the U.S. Naval Academy.

"It's not a terribly difficult course," said Jaeger, who designed the route. "But, it is a course that will spread out the competition, especially thefirst part of the bike course.

"The first eight miles of the bike are a gradual uphill until College Parkway, then the next eight miles are flat as a board along access roads on both sides of Route 50, and the last eight miles is a pretty good technical downhill back to St. John's College."

The event gives triathletes a replacement for the defunct Baltimore Bud Light Triathlon. The Baltimore race, which was run in early June at the Inner Harbor, was moved to Lums Pond State Park in New Castle County, Del.

The event had grown during its seven-year existence, and the director was having trouble getting street closings, said Kara Lovelace, public relations director for CAT Sports, which ran the event.

The Columbia Triathlon, held this year on May 31 at Centennial Park in Columbia, picked up some of the slack, but Jaeger said he felt that one triathlon during the summer was not enough.

"There just needed to be another big triathlon in the area," said Jaeger, 35, who also coaches boys cross-country and indoor HTC track at Chesapeake High School in Baltimore County. The Columbia Triathlon is fantastic, but people were looking for another event later in the year as big as the Baltimore Bud Light Triathlon. Ours will surpass in quality and size the Baltimore Bud Light race."

Although Bud Light sponsors the Annapolis triathlon, it is not affiliated with the old Baltimore race, which was one of nine stops on the summer-long $200,000 Coke Grand Prix tour. "We have nothing to do with the Bud Light series," Jaeger said. "Bud Light just happens to be one of the sponsors. The Bud Light series is for profit. We are a non-profit event, with the proceeds going to charities in Anne Arundel County and Annapolis."

There are 12 age groups for men and women from the 15-to-19-year-old division to the over-70 age group. The top five overall finishers in each division and the top five finishers in each relay division -- male, female and mixed -- win awards, as well as the top Maryland finisher in each division.

Facts and figures

What: The Bud Light Annapolis Triathlon -- a 1.5-kilometer swim, 40-kilometer bike and 10-kilometer run open to males and females 15 and older.

When: Tomorrow, 7:30 a.m.

Where: The race begins at St. John's College in Annapolis. Take I-97 south to U.S. 50 east to exit 24S (Rowe Boulevard). Go two miles, then left on College Avenue to St. John's.

Entries: Registration continues through today. Athletes may register at the Loews Hotel in Annapolis during an expose from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entry fee is $60. Call Brad Jaeger, race director, at (410) 882-6103 for more information.

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