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Feature: Top Ten Best & Least Known Races (Part 1) by Susan Grant

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:07am

Smiletriathlete It seems, at least in triathlon, that all roads in triathlon often lead to the Ironman. But don't be fooled. There are hundreds of great races across the country that offer the same or better triathlon experience as the Ironman branded races at a substantial lower entry fee.

This week at EverymanTri we've put our heads together to present you with the Top Ten Best & Least Known races. And while the races may be numbered, they are in no particular order as they all offer something different and special that must be experienced to be appreciated.

Ashland1 1. Ashland Lions Metro West International, Ashland, Mass. Mid-June 

Stats: swim: 1 mile, bike: 26 miles, run: 6.5 miles 
If you've never been to the Boston area, this race could be a good reason to go. This local event offers a beautiful, wooded bike and run course that takes you over some of the same roads used in the Boston Marathon. The swim and run are both slightly longer than other international distances, but Ashland Reservoir is clean and wave-free for those of you who prefer lake swims. This race is part of the F.I.R.M racing series in the Boston Metro area, which include dozens of local, well put together events for the newbie and experienced alike. 

Mossman1 2. Park City Mossman Triathlon, Bridgeport, Conn. Early August
 Stats: swim: 1.5K, bike: 40K, run: 10K
Still a relatively new race, the Mossman Triathlon draws athletes from around the New England area to Seaside Park Beach. The swim is a triangular course through the beautiful Long Island Sound, and when you turn your head you get a nice view of million-dollar homes along the shore. The bike course stays inside the park, making for a five-loop course that allows any spectators of your to get plenty of shots of you racing. The run is along the park's waterfront path. 

Reebok 3. Reebok U.S. Women's Triathlon Series -San Diego, Calif. Oct. 19, 2008 
Stats: swim: .75K, bike: 20K, run: 6.6K 
While the Danskin Women's Series gets a lot of attention, Reebok's women-only races are just as good--and they also help raise awareness for ovarian cancer. The San Diego race takes place at Mission Bay Park, a large boating area home to several triathlons throughout the season. The series also has races in Washington state, Texas and Illinois.These races are as beginner friendly as you can get: dozens of swim buddies available to nervous swimmers and even a "super-sprint" course that is half the distance of the regular sprint race for ladies who just want to give a triathlon a try. Every finisher gets a medal, and the female-heavy vibe of the race is more "you go girl!" than cutthroat competition. 

Pendleton-07 4. Camp Pendleton International, Camp Pendleton, Calif. Mid-July 
Stats: swim: 1.5 K, bike: 40K, run: 10K 
Located on the second largest military base in the United States, the Camp Pendleton International doesn't pull any punches. The volunteers are marines, the person next to you at the starting line is probably in the service and you just may have a tank pass right by you out on the bike. The international race is part of the Camp Pendleton Race Series, which includes dozens of other events from a sprint triathlon and half marathon to the world famous mud run. While some of the other races are meant to replicate a day at marine boot camp, the atmosphere at the international is patriotic and fun. The most important thing to remember on race day is to bring your driver's license and registration so you can get onto the base. 

CITStart 5. Catalina Island Triathlon, Catalina Island, Calif. Nov. 8, 2008 
Stats: Swim: ½ mile, Bike: 15K, Run: 3 miles 
If you're looking for an awesome race to end the season with, look no further than the Catalina Island Triathlon. Located 22 miles off the coast of Los Angeles, Catalina is a triathlete's paradise. Once the playground for Hollywood stars in the 40s and 50s, Catalina is now a popular tourist destination because of its cute seaside hotels, trails and fantastic fishing. The swim portion of the race is in Avalon Bay, and if the water is clear enough, you can see the bright orange Girabaldi fish swimming underneath you. The bike and run courses take you past dozens of cute island cottages throughout Avalon that are home to some of the island's roughly 4000 full-time inhabitants. Make sure you make a weekend of the race by staying a night on Catalina, and don't forget to buy you ferry ticket over to the island in advance so you aren't stranded on the mainland, missing all the fun.

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