It will be a busy three days of racing this weekend at Arizona’s Tempe Town Lake, with USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals, the inaugural Leadman Tri Epic 125 Tempe and the Marquee Triathlon all taking place.
Here’s a breakdown of the weekend of events.
More than 100 rising multisport stars will compete at the first-ever USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships. The 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run sprint-distance event features top athletes who all qualified to compete over the last year. The men’s race begins at 9 a.m. PDT, and the women will race at 11 a.m.
Individual and team national titles will be on the line on Saturday. More than 1,000 collegiate triathletes will take part in the Olympic-distance championship event, which features a 1,500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run. The men’s race will start at 7:30 a.m. PDT, followed by the women at 11 a.m. These races will be streamed live online for free at Usatriathlon.org. Coverage begins at 10 a.m. EDT (7 a.m. locally in Tempe).
The University of Colorado enters 2013 Collegiate Nationals as the three-time defending overall team champion. The Buffs also captured the men’s and women’s team titles a year ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Seven individuals who finished in the combined men’s and women’s top 10 in 2012 are on the start list. Arizona’s Ben Kanute, who finished third last year, is the top returning competitor on the men’s side. Other returning athletes are Chris Braden of Colorado (sixth), Iowa’s Alex Libin (ninth) and Penn State’s Jason West (10th).
Representing Cal, Christine Jackson (Farson) finished fourth in 2012 and is the top returning women’s finisher. U.S. Air Force Academy’s Samantha Morrison and Cal’s Erika Erickson placed fifth and sixth a year ago, respectively.
A number of athletes, including Erickson, Jackson, Kanute, Libin and Morrison, are slated to compete in the draft-legal race in addition to the Olympic-distance championship event.
Later in the day, the teams will take part in the second-ever Mixed-Team Relay. Slated to begin at 4 p.m., each four-person team must consist of two females and two males who will complete a super-sprint triathlon before tagging their teammate. All athletes will complete a 250-meter swim, 5K bike and 1.2K run. The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has hosted this format of racing in the past and hopes to make it a part of Olympic competition at some point.
Nearly 40 teams are on the start list for the Mixed-Team Relay, including last year’s relay champions from Cal – Erickson, Nicholas Halkowski, Jackson and Yoni Doron-Peters.
Learn more about USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships at Usatriathlon.org.
After the Collegiate National Championships concludes with a Saturday evening awards ceremony at Tempe Marketplace, the triathlon action continues Sunday with the LeadmanTri Epic 125 and the Marquee Triathlon. The Marquee Triathlon features sprint- and Olympic-distance races. This will be the first Leadman race in Tempe—the event used to be held at Lake Mead in Nevada. The original announcement from Life Time said that a 111.5K bike would take place through the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community, which is where the Ironman Arizona bike course goes. After not being able to reach a deal with the community, race organizers re-arranged the course. The bike course will now be four laps within Tempe town limits with a distance of 109.5K. The trail run has been extended to 13K to make up for the 2K deficit on the bike.
Check back to Triathlete.com throughout the weekend for complete coverage.