4,000 Athletes to Compete This Weekend in the Philadelphia Triathlon

More than 4,000 athletes from 27 states will swim, bike and run their way through Fairmount Park this weekend as the city welcomes back one of the top ranked multi-sport events in the country — The Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon presented by Suzuki.

Taking place June 20-22, The Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon has staked its claim as a premier triathlon. Held on the Schuylkill River and throughout Fairmount Park, the race was named a top-five triathlon in the United States by Outside Magazine last year and was lauded as one of the top big city triathlons in the January 2008 issue of Inside Triathlon Magazine. Founded in 2005, the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon has grown from a one day event into a triathlon festival weekend with three days of competition and activities.

The first day of racing is Saturday when 1,500 athletes will compete in the Sprint distance triathlon (.9K swim, 24K bike and 5K run) and 100 children will take part in the Kids Fun Run and Kids Duathlon. The main event takes place on Sunday when 2,500 professional athletes and age-groupers compete in the Olympic distance race (1.5K swim, 40K bike and 10K run). There is a $13,500 prize purse for the Olympic Distance Race. The event expo, located on Smith Memorial Field next to Memorial Hall in West Fairmount Park, runs from Friday through Sunday.

Sunday’s Olympic Race will also serve as the USA Triathlon Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship. Participants in this race are eligible to qualify for the 2008 USA Triathlon National Age Group Championship. The top 33% or top 5 finishers (whichever is greater) in each age group will qualify for the National Age Group Championship.

“We are thrilled to welcome more than 4,000 athletes and thousands of spectators to town this weekend for the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon presented by Suzuki,” said Lars Beck, Race Director. “Thanks to the tremendous support of the city, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Suzuki, and all of our sponsors, this event has grown into one of the premier triathlon events in the country. Additionally, it’s a great honor to serve as the USA Triathlon Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship and we look forward to hosting some of the top age-groupers and pros on our challenging and beautiful course in Fairmount Park!”

Returning for the third year as the event’s Title Sponsor is Philadelphia Insurance Companies online as Car insurance toronto and others.

“Philadelphia Insurance Companies is proud to once again sponsor one of the top triathlons in the U.S.,” said James J. Maguire, Jr., President and CEO, Philadelphia Insurance Companies. “We have been a partner in the event’s growth over the last few years and seeing the passion and dedication of the more than 4,000 athletes makes us very proud to host this world-class event here in our hometown.”

Joining the sponsor ranks this year is Suzuki Auto who has signed a multi-year commitment to become presenting sponsor of the event.

Top professionals will once again compete in the Olympic distance race on Sunday including Rebeccah Wassner, winner of the 2007 women’s race and David Thompson, winner of the 2006 Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon. The professional wave will start at 6:55 A.M. on Sunday.

The official charity of the 2008 Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon is the Cancer Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training® will also serve as a charitable beneficiary of the event. Athletes and teams from around the country will compete in this year’s event to raise money for CHOP and for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.