WILMINGTON — Nearly 600 competitors are registered for the 14th Annual Azalea Sprint Triathlon presented by Carolina Sports Medicine on Saturday, March 11.
As part of the North Carolina Triathlon Series, the largest and longest running triathlon series in the United States, this year’s event is comprised of a swim inside the UNCW Natatorium, followed by a nine-mile bike loop and 5K run.
The swim is a 300-yard pool swim on campus. Participants start at one side of the pool and snake their way up and down each lane as they work towards the other side of the pool. After getting out of the water, the bike course is a nine-mile loop. The course takes place on the UNCW campus and its surrounding neighborhoods, concluding with a 3.1 mile run meandering through UNCW.
“The sprint triathlon is much less about endurance and pushing your fastest possible pace in all aspects,” said Aaron Marks, 33. “This is my first race of the year and training for my first full IRONMAN this October in Louisville. I always like starting the year with a sprint to gauge where I’m at.”
Like most out-of-towners, Marks is drawn to the Port City for a variety of reasons. This will be the second time the Raleigh resident is making the trip eastbound on Interstate-40 in less than six months after competing in Beach2Battleship IRONMAN Triathlon in October 2016.
“I love any excuse to visit Wilmington,” Marks said. “I did IRONMAN NC 70.3 last year. It’ll be a weekend trip and I’ve done North Carolina Triathlon Series races events before. They do an outstanding job.”
Race time is set for 8 a.m. Although no roads will be closed, motorists should use extra caution until 1 p.m. on Saturday and drivers may encounter slight traffic delays along the route.
Bike Course Turn by Turn:
- Start at UNCW Campus
- Exit UNCW via Reigel Road
- Northbound on Rose Avenue to Clear Run Drive
- Westbound on Clear Run Drive to Cardinal Drive
- Northbound on Cardinal Drive to Eastwood Drive
- Eastbound on Eastwood Drive to Rogersville Drive
- Southbound on Rogersville Road to Wrightsville Avenue
- Westbound on Wrightsville Avenue to MacMillan Avenue
- Northbound on MacMillan Avenue to Hamilton Drive
- Back into UNCW campus for finish
The Azalea Triathlon is the first event of the 2017 AAA Car Care North Carolina Triathlon Series. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit the UNCW Swimming and Diving Team.