Spectators from the area gathered on Saturday morning, some as early as 5:00 a.m., to cheer on friends and family who were competing in the Wyckoff YMCA’s 29th annual triathlon at the Indian Trail Club.
The longest running race in the tri-state area, and even one of the oldest in the United States, there were 900 athletes who ran, swam and biked, some in relay teams of two or three people, others individually.
“This is a family-oriented and local kind of race,” Frank Crotty, a Wyckoff YMCA board member who has helped organize the race for a number of years, said. “We get very capable athletes, some of who have gone on to compete at a national level. We attract some of the best athletes in the area.”
There was a 1/2 mile swim, a 17 mile bike ride and a 5 mile run. This was the first year that the popular race used a lottery system to determine who would compete, because last year, the tickets sold out in 24 hours, Nancy Addis, special events director at the YMCA, said.
“It’s an extremely popular race,” Addis said.
Participants were able to login in to Compuscore.com later in the day to find out their time and place.
“It feels wonderful,” Bill Bonzulack of Wyckoff said, immediately after finishing the race. “I feel good about my time. After spending the last few months training, I’m happy with how I did.”
Some first time racers, like Dave Alport of Glen Rock, said they felt the most difficult part of the race were the hills that near the reservoir that they had to bike over.
But even some of the athletes who have raced before found the hills to be challenging.
“Nothing is ever a breeze when it comes to biking,” Ted Preusch said, who has biked a number of races, some of which have been hundreds of miles.
For others, it was the swim that was difficult.
“There was a lot of stuff in the water, a lot of plant life,” Jason DiSalvo, of Ramsey, who has run the past four years, said. “It was like that last year too.”
The Wyckoff Midland Park Rotary Club helped the YMCA to organize the race as well, and the money earned will benefit organizations like Oasis of Paterson, the Boys and Girls Club of Paterson and Eva’s Kitchen. The YMCA will use its portion of the race’s earnings for scholarships, swim lessons for inner city children and for its special needs programs.
Martin Cedzidlo, of Bergen County, who was sitting with a group of friends and family, said he was there to support his wife and daughter who were in the race.
“Our wives and daughters are running, as the men sit around and eat,” Cedzidlo said. “This is a nice family day, with as many kids as there are adults. We will definitely be back next year. We just wish it didn’t start so early. Just because the sun is up, doesn’t mean it’s the best time for a race.”
It seemed like many of the participants enjoyed themselves on the sunny 80-degree morning.
“This was just a lot of fun, and there was a lot of energy in the crowd and in the athletes,” Larry Orourke of Glen Rock said.