United Way of Portage County will hold its fourth annual Run, Bike, Unite duathlon at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, to kick off its campaign. The duathlon will start at Sentry, 1800 Northpoint Drive, Stevens Point, and will include a two-mile run, 14-mile bike ride and final two-mile run to the finish line.
The main duathlon is a competitive event and is capped at 800 participants who will be chip-timed, meaning a small electronic chip will be attached to the participants’ shoelaces or on an ankle bracelet to identify them as they cross the finish line. Chip timing electronically records and processes race results.
There are two different run courses in the main duathlon: the first is on a paved street and the second is a shaded trail through Schmeeckle Reserve on the Green Circle Trail. The bike course is flat and runs through scenic rural areas.
Refreshment stops will be provided along the course, and volunteers will offer support for anything anyone needs.
Those who register for the main duathlon are required to attend a pre-race meeting at 8:15 a.m. the day of the race. Registration costs $40 per individual or $25 per person for relay teams.
After crossing the finish line, participants may receive complimentary food and refreshments including free bottled water provided by Wal-Mart and food provided by Dunkin’ Donuts and Trig’s. An awards ceremony will be held around noon.
This year United Way is expanding its campaign by adding two new duathlons.
“We partnered with a bunch of ministry health partners and others to see what this community needs and one of the problems they found was obesity – especially child obesity,” said Scott Steuck, director of communications and marketing for United Way. “This event will help kids become more active.”
To address this need, and to make the event more family-friendly, the Kids Duathlon is available to children ages 6 to 14; registration costs $20 per child. Children ages 6 to 8 and 9 to 11 may participate in a quarter-mile run, two-mile bike ride and a final quarter-mile run to the finish while children ages 12 to 14 will have a half-mile run, four-mile bike ride and half-mile run to the finish.
“We wanted to promote health for children and foster good practices with them,” said Michelle Peariso, a board member of United Way and race director. “The ‘just for fun’ duathlon is also new. This event is more for the people that aren’t competitive, but want to participate and do not want to be timed.”
The Just for Fun duathlon will follow the main duathlon, beginning at 8:40 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 24. Registration costs $30. The race is untimed and is shortened with a two-mile run, an eight-mile bike ride and half-mile run to the finish.
Registration for all three races is online at active.com and will close Thursday, Aug. 22, at 11:59 p.m. Bicycle helmets are mandatory for all races and electronic devices, such as MP3 players, iPods, radios or headphones are forbidden due to traffic concerns.
Trophies will be awarded to the top three Full Duathlon finishers in each individual age group and relay team. The top three finishers for each Kids’ Duathlon class will also receive a trophy. Anna Katner, who won Miss Teen Wisconsin International this year, will be presenting the awards.
United Way began the duathlon as its kickoff campaign in 2010, prior to the duathlon United Way hosted a motorcycle ride event. “Three years ago Adventure 212 had talked about doing our own duathlon,” said Peariso, ower of Adventure 212 Fitness, “United Way said they wanted to do one too.”
United Way and Adventure 212 collaborated and formed the duathlon as the kickoff for United Way because it fulfills United Way’s goals of creating a healthy community.
In addition to providing the community a healthy, fun fitness opportunity, United Way uses the duathlons to acquire support and awareness for their annual campaigns.
“We’ve got a lot of exciting things happening with this year’s campaign,” Steuck said. United Way has added a Drive United Sweepstakes to this year’s campaign. Anyone who donates $52 or more this year or anyone who donated $52 or more to last year’s campaign and donates $26 this year will be entered into the sweepstakes.
“Before Dec. 4 we will draw three names, the person that turns the key will win the car and the other two will get other great prizes,” he said.
The winner of the grand prize will get a choice between three cars: a 2014 Ford Fusion, Volkswagen Jetta or Hyundai Sonata. All three of the cars were donated by Scaffidi Motors and will be on display at the duathlon.
Winner of first prize will receive $500 in Portage County gift certificates and the winner of second prize will receive two 2013 Green Bay Packers tickets and a $300 gas card.
Steuck also said the money raised goes back into the allocation pool which gets distributed to partner agencies; all of which have to do with education, health and community basics.
The duathlon itself helps United Way fill basic community needs by educating people about physical fitness and promoting health.
“This is a fun thing to do to support the local community,” Peariso said, “We have a place for everybody.”
For more information, visit www.unitedwaypoco.org/Duathlon or call Michelle Peariso at 715-343-0212.
To register for any of the three duathlons, visit www.active.com/duathlon/stevens-point-wi/united-way-run-bike-unite-duathlon-2013.