It’s that time of year again, when all hometown eyes are focused on the nation’s largest urban park system and the waterway that wends through the city: the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon takes place this weekend, so if you’re not racing, come out an watch.
This event has been called one of the nation’s best, and it’s near and dear to GreenTreks, not only because our Executive Director Barry Lewis has competed since the race’s inception, but because it highlights the key role a healthy environment plays in our lives.
Imagine if the Schuylkill River wasn’t surrounded by a system of parks to act as a buffer against runoff: there would be no way the swim-bike-run event could be held.*
*NOTE: In spite of the vast improvement in the Schuylkill’s water quality over the past decade, major storms flush significant amounts of pollutants and sediments into the river, so the swim portion is always dependent upon the weather in the days leading up to the race. For an up to date assessment of water quality, based on predictive models, check out phillyrivercast.org. At last check, at 11:30 am on Friday morning, the water quality was good and the water temperature was 79 degrees.
Imagine if we didn’t plan and care for greenspace by maintaining pathways through tree covered landscapes to provide shade and produce oxygen: how enjoyably could we ride and run amidst the paved in, built up city environment that heats like an oven at this time of year?
Imagine if we didn’t have a committed community of athletes, advocates, sponsors, city officials, and volunteers: the coordination, logistics, expense, and personnel requirements of hosting more than 4,00 athletes for a series of multi-sport events would never happen and could never result in such a rich experience for participants without every single person involved.
This year, we’re even more excited about the event, because race management is embarking upon a series of greening initiatives to reduce the event’s environmental footprint and give back to the community that makes the race possible. You can learn more about the initial phase of the race going green, which involves a partnership with Nathan Performance Gear and benefits the Fairmount Park Conservancy here >>
Actually, we’re over the moon about the 2011 race because Barry, who was selected as USA Triathlon’s 2010 Masters Duathlete of the Year, is once again competing as a member of Team PHLY–and they’re partnering with the Challenged Athletes Foundation to RACE FOR A REASON. If you think a triathlon is challenging, check out this video about CAF. Be prepared to be inspired.