As far as big city triathlons go, it’s small potatoes. But hey, it’s what we got and I’m sure it’ll be fun.
The Druid Hill Park Sprint Triathlon, organized by Set Up Events, returns for the second year this Sunday. According to the race website, online registration closed Thursday morning; however on-site registration remains available at Falls Road Running Store on Saturday from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. and at the race site on Sunday from 5:30 a.m. – 6:30 a.m. So far, 175 triathletes, almost all local, from ages 9 – 72, have signed up for the 300-yard pool swim, 8-mile bicycle ride and 5 kilometer run at one of our country’s oldest landscaped parks. The bike ride will cover rolling hills inside and outside the park, passing both the Maryland Zoo and the nearby 40-foot statute of Sir William Wallace (Yes, the guy from Braveheart).
The event also benefits the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, which is appropriate. One of the things that could really make Baltimore a dynamic destination again (see below) for a big city triathlon, on the par with New York, Philadelphia, or the Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C. — events that routinely sell out their 3,500-4,000 slots — is an Inner Harbor swimming venue.
Granted, it sounds far-fetched, but the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore released a Healthy Harbor Plan last year, aiming to make the harbor safe for swimming and fishing by 2020. Who would’ve guessed Boston’s harbor, New York’s Hudson River, the Schuykill in Philly, or the Potomac in D.C., would ever again serve swimmers?
Of course, to make the Inner Harbor swimmable requires a serious greening of Baltimore City and Baltimore County’s neighborhoods, industrial areas, streets and waterways.
(In the mid-1980s through the early 90s, Baltimore served as a host for the former Bud Light Triathlon series before that event was moved to Delaware, partly at least, because of logistical issues. The swim venue for those events was Gunpowder Falls State Park.)