Chile Harvest Triathlon entering it’s 17th year

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The Socorro Chile Harvest Triathlon began in 1996 with about 45 participants, a number that represented a strong showing for a challenging athletic event in its first year. This year will mark the 17th triathlon, and the number of entrants has increased to an estimated 250, with good reason.

“It’s a flat course that allows people to try their very first triathlon, to see if they like it and get their juices going,” race director Robert Gonzales said.

The race will begin Saturday at 7 a.m. at the Socorro City Pool on the southwest corner of Sedillo Park.

Socorro is considered a sprint triathlon, meaning that competitors don’t have to traverse a standard course. The standard Olympic distances are 1.5 kilometers in the pool, a 24.8 kilometer bike ride and a 10 kilometer run. The Chile Harvest version consists of a 400 meter swim, a 20 kilometer bike ride and a 5 kilometer run.

“It’s a good sprint for people who are just starting off,” Gonzales said.

“It’s course friendly.”

And “friendly” may be the operative term regarding why people seem to consistently partake in the event.

“For any event to be successful, you have to have great volunteers,” Gonzales said.

“We’ve heard that people get treated well by our volunteers.”

For anyone still wishing to witness that small-town camaraderie, registration will be open until tomorrow at 5 p.m.

Entry fees are currently $20 for anyone ages 23 and under, $65 for solo adults and $135 for relays. Anyone who is not a USA Triathlon member will also pay a $10 USAT one-day membership fee.

There is no race-day registration.

Awards will be handed out to the fastest finisher in several different categories.

Age groups will be separated into five year increments and according to gender, and the best time in each of those will be awarded. The Pro-Elite category is open to USAT Elite or National Governing Body for Triathlon Elite competitors, the Clydesdale award will be handed to the fastest male weighing 200 pounds or more and the highest finishing female weighing more than 150 pounds will win the Athena award. The winning male, female and coed relay teams will also win awards.

Entrants can pick up their packets and timing chips between 4 and 8 p.m. on Friday at the Socorro Pool, and race-day check-in will be open from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.

All participants must provide photo identification.

“It will be a fun, enjoyable race,” Gonzales said.

To register online, go to www.active.com, and for more information on the race go to www.chileharvesttri.com or email Gonzales at rgonza8185@gmail.com.