The Triathlon has always been the official kickoff of the Harbor Days weeklong celebration of all that is quintessential about Mattapoisett: the bay, the arts, the local talent, summer fun, local business, the village – the community! – the Mattapoisett Lions and all the wonderful causes they help support.
Harbor Days is one of, if not the biggest event of the year in Mattapoisett, which is why organizers of the annual Triathlon, now in its 37thyear, are concerned about a dwindle in the number of participants this year.
The event is only days away – Sunday, July 15 – the start of an entire week of hometown fun and only 53 people have registered for the triathlon.
That’s a drastic decline, says Debra Holden, one of three organizers of the triathlon who have, for three years now, been helping the Mattapoisett Lions Club pull together a successful triathlon. And they have indeed helped!
According to Holden, two years ago the trio helped bolster participation of the event, which saw double the number of triathletes sign up. Numbers stayed strong in 2017, too. But this year, Holden isn’t sure why such a popular event has seen a decline in registrants so close to the event.
“Triathlons have been popular in general in the area,” said Holden. But even in other triathlons held on the local level elsewhere in the state, Holden said, participation is dropping a bit. “And I don’t know why.”
Holden herself is a triathlete, and Mattapoisett’s Lions Club triathlon, she said, is an enjoyable, relatively easy triathlon with its short swim of a quarter mile inside a sheltered Buzzards Bay, a 10-mile flat bike ride through the scenic ways of Mattapoisett, and a 5k run through the traditional seaside village.
“And Mattapoisett’s is one of the oldest triathlons in New England,” said Holden. “It’s been going on a lot longer than a lot of triathlons.”
Holden describes it as “beginner-friendly” as far as triathlons go. It’s the kind of race that can ease one into the experience because it’s fun, it’s local, and – by gosh – it’s a tradition around here.
“And it’s in such a great area,” said Holden.
Even families can sign up for the challenge as a team and relay the three portions of the race. Award medals are given to the first, second, and third place winners from five different age groups, male and female, and participants will receive a t-shirt, water bottle, swim cap, and, of course, refreshments. “It’s a beautiful course,” said Holden. “It’s an easy course. It’s an easy swim … a short swim.”
The swim is from Town Beach and back, then the bikes leave from Town Beach and go left onto Water Street, up Main Street across Route 6; left onto Acushnet Road, over Route 195; left up Acushnet Road to Tinkham Town; right onto Long Plain Road to the turn around, and back over the course in reverse. The runners then head out from Town Beach and then around Ned’s Point lighthouse, down Beacon Street, up Oakland Street, then down Church to Main and on to Water Street to the finish line.
The triathlon is Sunday, July 15, beginning at 8:00 am at the Mattapoisett Town Beach on Water Street. Registration starts at 7:00 am, and registrations will still be taken up until the start of the race. Registrations will also be taken the night before on Saturday, July 14, from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at the Town Beach. The cost is $75 in person and $80 online. Families who wish to do a relay will pay $130, and, of course, every dime of the proceeds goes to benefit the charity work of the Mattapoisett Lions Club.
So challenge your friends! Challenge your family! And if you aren’t up for the challenge, come out and cheer on the ones who were. And if you see The Wandererthere, smile for the camera. Happy Harbor Days, Mattapoisett!
By Jean Perry