2014 Mystic River Valley Triathlon
June 10, 2014 By Christopher Moore
For those who haven’t been there, Mystic, Connecticut is a classic quaint New England seaside community. Full of modest but immaculately kept water front homes, rustic harbors and roadside seafood shacks, it’s managed to retain the character and charm that made it a well-known weekend tourist destination.
Like the town that hosts it, The Mystic River Valley triathlon has been around a long time, has a great reputation yet still manages to be a small, low key event.
The sprint distance race, which took place this past Sunday, is put on by the Mystic Ocean Community YMCA. This year was the 29th edition of the event making it one of the oldest, if not the oldest triathlons in the state.
One hundred and sixty five triathletes came to test their fitness on a picturesque course which featured a half mile swim in the Mystic Harbor, a 14.5 mile bike through the Mystic country side and a 3.1 mile run on the Mystic Harbor waterfront. Most racers praised the course for its scenery and lack of elevation change. “The course was amazing, it was gorgeous!” said women’s overall winner Laura Kloepper of Providence, Rhode Island. Local Mike Kennedy said the race appealed to him because “it’s a good course. It’s flat, it’s fast.”
In an era of supersized triathlon events with hundreds or even thousands of participants, elaborate venues, early sell out dates and astronomical entry fees many participants felt the Mystic race was a refreshing change of pace. Entry fees were only $70.00 and registration was available until the Friday preceding the event. “It’s these kinds of events that really draw members of the community in” said Kloepper, “there’s so much positive energy surrounding this event.”
Despite all of its appeal the event has seen declining participation numbers over the past few years. “We’re not sure why” said Emily King Herbette who has been the Race Director for the past three years, “maybe it’s competition from the Tough Mudder events, we don’t know.” In response to this trend Herbette has stepped up the event’s offerings adding catered post-race food and live music to this year’s event. The Mystic River race is also still a grass roots event run entirely by Herbette’s organization without USA Triathlon sanctioning. Herbette has plans to change this for future editions of the event though USAT rules will require modifying the bike course to eliminate its current figure eight layout.
On the women’s side, Kloepper seemed thrilled with her experience noting that Mystic was her first race of the year and it was here first time visiting Mystic. Men’s winner Jeff Duda, also of Rhode Island, was a bit more business as usual. Having already won previous editions of the event Duda collected his award dressed in golf attire and then hurried off to make a scheduled tee time. In keeping with the home spun nature of the event the awards were hand crafted by a local artisan out of sea shells and driftwood.
Proceeds from the Mystic River Triathlon are used to help fund the Ocean Community YMCA’s Reach Out to Youth Program which provides financial assistance to help those in need benefit from YMCA programs.
For results from this event click here: https://www.itsyourrace.com/results.aspx?id=3148