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Musselman Triathlon returns to Geneva this weekend

The sixteenth-annual Musselman Triathlon will be held this weekend, July 12 – 14, in Geneva, New York. The event is expected to bring over 1,300 participants to the area from across the U.S. and Canada.

Musselman Weekend consists of four different races: the Musselman, a half-iron distance race held on Sunday; the mini-Mussel, a sprint distance triathlon on Saturday; the microMussel, a ‘super sprint’ featuring children’s tricycles and Big Wheels-style toys, on Friday evening; and the MusselKids Race, a triathlon for children ages 6-10 and 11-14, also held on Friday evening. The races are staged at Lakefront Park on Friday, and Seneca Lake State Park on Saturday and Sunday.

New for 2019 will be the introduction of a duathlon version of the event.

“The Musselman has offered an AquaBike version of the race for years,” says race director Rich Clark. “That was a welcome addition, one that (race founder) Jeff Henderson added at the request of athletes who wanted to continue in the Musselman year after year but were unable to complete it because of knee injuries that would be exacerbated on the run.” Clark, who notes that the ‘du’ format will be offered across both the sprint, half, and DoubleMussel – nicknamed the ‘DoubleDu’ – hopes to use the duathlon offering to attract new athletes to the sport, rather than retain. “We time a lot of running events, and there are a lot of athletes out there who have heard great things about the Musselman – these are experienced runners, and maybe experienced cyclists, but they see Seneca Lake and might be a bit intimidated to race the full tri. We’re hoping to bring those folks out to Geneva and give them a chance to try their hand at racing in one of the most beautiful settings that any sports event could hope to offer.”

The race has been cited by national sporting publications more than a dozen times in its sixteen-year history. The Musselman Triathlon was selected as one of the ‘Top 100 Races in the World’ by Triathlete Magazine in its ‘Editor’s Choice’ rankings. It was named the ‘Best Small Event’ by Triathlon Business International in 2016.

The Musselman is one of a handful of triathlons in the U.S. with a national presence despite being directed and organized by individuals local to the communities in which the triathlon is held. The event was founded by Jeff Henderson, a Geneva resident, in 2004; Clark, a Buffalo native, took over as race director in 2015. Clark is vice president of Score This!!!, a timing and race production company, and had previously served as the official timer for the Musselman every year since 2004. His company also puts on other triathlons in the Finger Lakes, including events on nearby Keuka and Canandaigua Lakes.

“The goal of the Musselman Triathlon has always been to put on a world-class event in what we believe is a world-class venue,” says Clark. “It really doesn’t get more beautiful than the Finger Lakes region, and we couldn’t ask for a better backdrop for this sport than Geneva and Seneca Lake.”

Race organizers are particularly proud of their history of making the Musselman Triathlon feel like a “local” race, choosing to showcase products from local sponsors, and even sourcing awards locally. This year triathletes will once again enjoy a taste of the Finger Lakes with fruits and juices from Red Jacket Orchards, nut and seed butters from Once Again Nut Butter, among others. Awards include bottles of wine from Chateau LaFayette Reneau, Billsboro Winery, Knapp Winery, Glenora, and Anthony Road Wine Company, all part of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. Prizewinning athletes also have a choice between a bottle of wine or a growler from race sponsor WeBe Brewing, a nod to the growing brewery scene in the Finger Lakes.

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