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Founded in 1979, as the Pepsi Triathlon, the YMCA Wrightsville Beach Sprint Triathlon is a favorite event among locals and triathletes near and far. This event creates a lot of excitement and enthusiasm within the race community because of its scenic location in beautiful Wrightsville Beach. The course is flat and the distances are short, making it a great first event for new triathletes, and a great time trial for more experienced racers.
In recent years, the YMCA has added a Youth Triathlon event in addition to the traditional Sprint Triathlon, increasing the participation in younger athletes. The Y has also added a Corporate Relay Division to encourage local businesses to come out and compete for a very large trophy to display in their business, not to mention bragging rights for the year!
Today the event is comprised of the traditional sprint triathlon and a youth triathlon, increasing the participation in younger athletes. We've also introduced a corporate relay division to encourage businesses to come out and compete for a very large trophy to display in their office, not to mention bragging rights for the year!
The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina's Wrightsville Beach Sprint Triathlon first held in 1979, was the brainchild of Karl Sutter, a then resident of Wrightsville Beach. Karl was competitive by nature and had been college swimmer. A few years after college, Karl had taken up running to get back in shape, and one day sprained his ankle and then turned to cycling as an outlet for fitness while his injury healed. When reading Sports Illustrated in the spring of ‘79 he noticed a small article about the first Ironman triathlon with it’s 12 participants that was held in Hawaii the prior fall. Karl approached the local YMCA which was under the direction of Jack Morris at the time, and a new event for the area was born. This triathlon originally named the Pepsi YMCA Triathlon would become the first and longest running triathlon on the east coast of the US with its start of 99 participants that September, 1979.
Swim: 1150 meters
Bike: 11.5 miles
Swim: 200 meters
Bike: 4 miles
Run: 1.6 miles
If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.
This traditional sprint triathlon event starts out with a 1,350 yard swim - which is unusual for a sprint distance triathlon. The reason the swim is longer than the normal sprint distance swim is because the swim is a point-to-point swim that always takes place with an incoming tide. In fact, check out the swim times from previous years - the swim actually seems more like 750 - 1,000 yards depending on how fast the current is moving. The swim takes place in a channel system between Wrightsville Beach and Wilmington, NC. It is important to note that while this swim takes place in salt water - this is not an ocean swim.
Transportation to Swim Start
Athletes will walk to the swim start location at the Blockade Runner Resort. You can also get dropped off.. The start is about 3/4 mile from the transition area.
A decision on wetsuits is made on race day as the water temperature at this time of year along the southeastern North Carolina coast is always around 78 degrees. We will post a water temperature on our website the Thursday night of race week.
The course is flat (not a surprise) as the race is at the coast. The one loop course takes participants over the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge and onto the mainland.
Participants need to be very careful crossing the metal grading on the drawbridge - don't make any sudden turns or movements (ride carefully!!).
The 5K run course is a one-loop design and also flat. The run takes place on the very popular "loop" at Wrightsville Beach with 90% of the run being on the sidewalk system. The other 10% is on a very quiet side street - used to get the necessary distance.
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