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Fort Bliss (U.S. Army) — Athletes seeking to challenge their fitness limits have a chance to do just that when the Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon rolls back into Fort Bliss.
The race begins at 7:30 a.m. Sept. 28 at the Aquatics Training Center on East Fort Bliss. Early registration, which is free for active-duty Soldiers, closes Wednesday.
The event, organized by Fort Bliss Sports, Fitness and Aquatics, is one of two annual sprint triathlon held at Fort Bliss – the Armed Forces Day Sprint Triathlon is held each May – and is on its way to becoming a yearly tradition for many competitors.
“We have such a great community response to the triathlons; people really look forward to them,” said Holly Imbriaco, varsity and intramural sports coordinator for Fort Bliss Family and MWR. “The number of runners increases every time we offer one, and the athletes who competed in last year’s event were looking forward to this year’s race before we ever publicized it.”
The sprint triathlon format consists of a 400-meter swim, a 15-mile bicycle race and a 5-kilometer run. Competitors can enter the event individually or in teams of two or three racers. The shorter format and team option allow racers of all ability levels to compete, Imbriaco noted.
“We have beginner triathletes taking part, families who compete together as a team – you name it, and we’ve seen it on the race course,” she said. “Our age divisions start with 19 and under, and go up to 70 and over. We even have Clydesdale and Athena Divisions for our male and female racers who weigh more than 200 pounds and 150 pounds, respectively.”
The inaugural Iron Soldier Sprint Triathlon was held in 2012, as part of an initiative to help make Fort Bliss the fittest Army installation.
“We started with the Armed Forces Day Triathlon in 2011,” explained Aaron Jones, Family and MWR sports director. “Following the success of that event, our commanding general at the time wanted to see us expand our offerings.”
The Iron Soldier Triathlon came about the following year, and also proved to be a success. In 2012, about 300 racers competed in the event. Participation is growing: This year, more than 300 racers had registered by Friday, with six days still remaining before the close of early registration.
“I think Fort Bliss and the El Paso community are really looking for ways to challenge themselves,” Jones said. “The longer races have always been popular, and these triathlons have just really taken off, as well.”
The race is open to all, including the local community. Early registration is currently under way at Stout and Soto Physical Fitness Centers, active.com and eventbrite.com. Late registration will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 27 and 5 to 6:30 a.m. Sept. 28 at the Aquatics Training Center. Late registration costs an additional $10 per participant. For a full schedule of fees and deadlines, visit blissmwr.com/intramurals.
The Aquatics Training Center is located at 20733 Constitution Ave. on East Fort Bliss. To learn more, visit blissmwr.com/intramurals, facebook.com/teamblisssports or call 744-5794.
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