Bucks County Duathlon changes date, adds a second, longer distance

Competitors in this year’s Bucks County Duathlon will have two distances from which to choose.
       While the Bucks County Duathlon has set a standard of excellence in local multi-sport competition for more than a decade, the move to a new date and the addition of a second, longer race this year will only make it better.
      That’s news which should raise the level of excitement for the 12th annual race in and around Washington Crossing Historic Park.
      The date for the 2023 race will be Sunday, July 16, a departure from the traditional date on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
      Race officials believe the move to a mid-summer date will provide duathletes with a more convenient schedule rather than an “end of the summer” weekend where many people are on vacation or making a holiday trip down to the Jersey shore.
      Of equal significance, the BCD is expanding its menu of race distances. In addition to the standard 2-mile run/10-mile bicycle/2-mile run, participants can now compete in a 4-mile run/20-mile bicycle/4-mile run test over the same course, which incorporates the WCHP, the Delaware Canal towpath and roads throughout Upper Makefield Township (including Washington Crossing and Newtown).
      The challenging 4-20-4 distance should attract the more competitive athlete from Bucks County and beyond.
      Registration for the race will be available at www.buckscountyduathlon.org beginning Wednesday, Feb. 1.
      Early race fees are $65 for the 2-10-2 and $75 for the 4-10-4.
      Proceeds from the event go to the Missy Flynn Fund. Flynn, a Newtown resident, is a former world-class triathlete who suffered a life-threatening brain aneurysm in 2005. Since 2006, the BCD and other related events have raised more than $125,000 to help with Flynn’s uninsured medical expenses, etc.
      “After years of the same 2-10-2, we’ve decided to go wild and crazy,’’ said BCD co-director Harry Betz. “While still keeping the popular 2-10-2 format, we’ve added a 4-20-4 for those who want a more competitive challenge.
      “And moving to July also will afford both racers and organizers better lighting for the early (7 a.m.) start and slightly warmer temperatures.”
      Run course manager and race committee member Eric Stern agrees with Betz.
      “I think the date change and offering two distances to choose from will be a big boost,’’ Stern said.
      Both Jim Stein and Joe Boyce have fond memories of the BCD because it was their first multi-sport event.
      “I think the changes will attract more participants,’’ said Stein, a Bucks County Triathlon Club member who did his initial BCD in 2012. “It should bring more energy and excitement to the race.’’
      Boyce, who is quite active in organizing events for the Bucks County Roadrunners Club, took his initial stab at the BCD last year and found it to his liking.
      “Loved it,’’ he said. “It was well-organized and the exchanges from running to biking to running were perfectly positioned for the athletes’ ease of entry and exit as well as allowing spectators to see the athletes in multiple places.
      “Moving the race to mid-July should definitely help attract other competitors to fill out the field while promoting a great cause.”
      Bob Burke, who finished third overall last year in the BCD, owns and operates Guy’s Bicycles in Feasterville so it figures he would appreciate the lengthier bike segment.
      “I love the longer course option,’’ he said. “I believe this will attract more athletes.’’
      Veteran race course monitor Mike Clarke concurs the event changes will be productive.
      “Attendance should increase due to the race being held on a non-holiday weekend,’’ he said. “The changes should really fit well for the BCD.’’
      The Bucks County Duathlon events are sanctioned by USA Triathlon.
      For more information about BCD, contact Newtown Bike Shop, 215-968-3200.
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Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.