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Smithfield Sprint Triathlon returns this weekend

Motorists in and around Smithfield are urged to watch out for cyclists and runners on the roadways as the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon returns for another year this weekend.

The triathlon has been going on for about 14 years, but took a hiatus last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kinetic Multisports Founder and Race Director Greg Hawkins said the triathlon series is excited to be back this year, and to be getting started again in Smithfield.

“Pretty much everything last year was canceled, so this is our first race back,” he said. “We’re excited to start our season at the YMCA.”

Hawkins said spectators at this Saturday’s event are not forbidden but also are not encouraged, in order to keep the risk of virus transmission to a minimum. “Social distancing is in the DNA of the sport,” he quipped, a reference to the sport’s non-contact nature and rules against drafting on the bike course.

Drivers can help the cyclists and runners stay safe from traffic, too.

“The first thing people can do is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., avoid Mill Swamp and Bethany Church,” Hawkins said. Those roads form the 10-mile bike course, which follows a 300-meter swim in the indoor pool at the Luter Family YMCA.

“There’s about four miles on Mill Swamp where we’ll have cyclists going in both directions. Don’t pass on a curve, wait until you’ve got a good line of sight, pass them gently and give them plenty of room,” he said.

He also urged motorists not to honk the horn but to be encouraging.

The run course is less heavily trafficked, as it goes from the YMCA to Windsor Castle Park and back. Law enforcement will be at crossings to stop cars when needed. The 3.1-mile run course is mostly on Cedar Street and Jericho Road and uses only small portions of downtown streets such as James, Grace, Cary and Main.

“Just be patient,” Hawkins said. “If people are stopped for more than five minutes, I would be surprised.”

Hawkins said the Smithfield Sprint Triathlon remains a great addition to the Kinetic Multisports schedule, as it allows for a pool swim to get an earlier start to the season.

“Being able to start the season with a pool swim, just that 300-meter swim in the pool is great,” he said.

For more information about the race, visit kineticmultisports.com.