August 20, 2009 (Tuscaloosa, AL) – USA Triathlon’s top amateur athletes will get a taste of southern hospitality as the 2009 USAT Age Group National Championships hits Tuscaloosa, Ala., this Saturday.
Close to 1,100 athletes — ranging in age from 18 to 80 and hailing from 46 states across the nation — are set to battle in one of the most competitive Olympic distance triathlon events in the country.
The action gets underway at 7 a.m., at River Road Park East and will continue throughout the morning as 17 waves of athletes take to the Black Warrior River for a 1.5k swim. The athletes then mount their bikes for 40k of riding up and down Jack Warner Parkway, before heading out onto a 10k run along the river, into downtown and onto the University of Alabama campus.
The competitors are among the best amateur triathletes in the country, with many having garnered numerous All-America honors, national championships and world titles. Many of the athletes had stellar college and amateur careers in other sports and are now looking to make their mark in multisport.
Athletes earned their right to compete in the championship after meeting strict qualification standards at USAT-sanctioned events throughout the 2009 season.
The uniqueness of age group racing is that is allows competition among athletes in five-year age categories (ie. 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, etc.), so USA Triathlon will be awarding 27 national titles in these categories, as well as recognizing top masters athletes (male: 40-59; female: 40-54), grandmasters (male: 60-plus; female: 65-plus), Clydesdale (males over 200 pounds) and Athena (females over 150 pounds).
In addition to the bragging rights of claiming a national title in their age group, the amateur athletes will be competing for coveted spots to represent the U.S. at the 2010 ITU World Championship in Budapest, Hungary. There will be 18 slots on Team USA available per age group, with slots rolling down to 25th place.
For the second year, USAT will give an award to the state with the best performances across overall, masters and grandmasters categories.
CEO Challenges will also have a race within a race to see who can claim the title of World’s Fittest CEO. Fifteen business leaders from across the globe will battle for the title. Top U.S. athletes will also be eligible for specially allocated Team USA slots.
Championship by the Numbers
Age Range of Competitors: 18-80
Number of Age Groups: 27
Largest Age Group: Men 40-44 (94 athletes)
Largest Female Age Group: 25-29 (67 athletes)
Number of Returning National Champions: 16
States with Most Athletes: Georgia (139 athletes), Florida (114 athletes), Alabama (76 athletes)
Athletes to Watch
Defending champion 38-year-old Jason Schott of Dahlonega, Ga.
Brian Duffy of West Chester, Pa. (20-24 age group)
Doug Clark of Morristown, N.J. (40-44)
Mark Harms of Madison, Wis. (30-34)
Nathan White of Des Moines, Iowa (25-29)
Cathy Ynestad of Apple Valley, Minn. (30-34)
Lindsey Whalen of Chicago, Ill. (25-29)
Sabrina Oei of Morristown, N.J. (30-34)
Linda Robb of Juno Beach, Fla. (40-45)
Mandy McLane of Windermere, Fla. (30-34)
Though they won’t produce times that will put them in contention for overall titles, some great athletes will be competing in the older age groups and will be fun to watch. Many of these athletes have been at a high level in the sport for more than 20 years and are still going strong, creating great inspiration for all participants.
The USAT Elite National Championship will take place at the venue later in the day.