What they did for us

Photo submitted to the Times Observer The 14th Annual Willow Creek Triathlon set for Saturday, Aug. 3. Proceeds benefit disabled veterans in Warren and McKean counties.

An annual event that tests running, swimming and pedaling skills as a way to provide a less competitive means of transportation for veterans is approaching.

The 14th Annual Willow Creek Triathlon will take place Saturday, Aug. 3. The triathlon raises money for the Disabled American Veterans of McKean and Warren counties.

“We are very excited to continue this tradition of raising money for such a great cause,” race director John Tim said. “We owe our veterans so much and we are honored to do this for the DAVs.”

The money raised is used to purchase and maintain vans that transport veterans to and from Veterans Administration hospitals and clinics.

The money donated to the triathlon stays within the local area and is divided equally between the McKean and Warren County DAV chapters.

Registration for the event starts at 7 a.m. at Quaker Lake in Allegany State Park in New York. A rules meeting follows at 9 a.m. with the triathlon beginning at 9:30 a.m.

There will also be a duathlon race, which leaves out the swim portion and includes just the bike ride and run.

Both individuals and teams of 2 or 3 may participate. Entry fees are $60 for an individual and $100 for a team.

The event starts with a 300-yard swim, followed by a 15-mile bicycle ride to the old Corydon Hotel on West Washington Street. The last portion of the event takes runners on a three-mile jaunt to the Willows Restaurant.

“This is where the most heart-warming cheers are yelled as each athlete crosses the finish line and is greeted by veterans and onlookers,” Tim said.

Sarah Lonzi is offering her expertise with free triathlon coaching sessions available for novice to advanced athletes. Lonzi has competed in half Ironman triathlons, sprint triathlons, 5K and half marathon races. She has been a competitive runner for 16 years.

The free coaching is available to those who pre-register and includes a weekly training plan and a phone call or email check-in once a week to discuss the week and training and to answer any questions.

Those interested will be sent a questionnaire in order to customize the plan for the individual.

“I volunteered to offer this service because I hope to make more individuals comfortable with the idea of training and competing,” Lonzi said. “It can be very intimidating for newcomers and I want to be able to show them that with some guidance you can do it and do it successfully. I also hope to attract experienced athletes to aid in improving their race times through diverse tactics and methodology.”

Those interested can contact Lonzi at SAL156@pitt.edu.

Registration questions can be directed to registrations@willowcreektriathlon.org and race event questions can be sent to director@willowcreektriathlon.org.

This year, the committee wants to recognize veterans from World War II through the end of the Korean War.

Those interested can send their information to Dr. Dennis Faucher, 12 Pine St., Bradford, PA 16701.

To date, the triathlon has raised more than $322,000 for local veterans. For more information, visit score-this.com.