New York City, NY

New York City Triathlon Scaled Back Due to Hudson River Bacteria

Synthia Stark

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In New York City, New York, there were plenty of people running and cycling at the New York City Triathlon on Sunday, July 11, 2021.

More specifically, more than half of the participants were residents from New York City, while the remaining half were people coming from 39 others states and 19 other countries.

Unfortunately, no swimming occurred due to high levels of bacteria in the Hudson River, forcing it to become a duathlon.

As New York City Triathlon website stated:

"In partnership with local health experts and, following repeated water quality tests, due to the recent heavy rainfall, bacteria levels in the Hudson River have been found to be nine times higher than what is deemed safe. As a result, race organizers have made the prudent decision to alter the event to a run/bike/run duathlon..."

It's clear that a lot of people were disappointed, especially since they spent a lot of time, effort, and training just to get to this point. The organizers were also apologetic, given the short notice.

The organizers of the event made this difficult decision back on Saturday night to scale back operations so that it was now a duathlon. This meant that the swimming portion of the event was cancelled.

The race still started at Riverside Park and then extended through into Central Park. It included a 1-mile run, 24.8 miles of cycling, and another 6.2 miles of running afterward.

Bacteria From Tropical Storm Elsa

The unusually high levels of bacteria found in the Hudson River were linked back to the events surrounding Tropical Storm Elsa. It had hit New York pretty hard recently.

You can watch the video below to get more information:

It makes a lot of sense if you think about it. Hurricanes and tropical storms often pick up things from one area (like bacteria) and bring them into a new environment (like the Hudson River).

It's better to trust the experts (like scientists) to make sure that everyone is safe and sound.

Safety Is Important

When it comes to the industry, things sometimes have to change, especially when strange things like these occur. Plus, as mentioned earlier, our safety and well-being are pretty important too.

While some people were likely disappointed with not being able to swim today, at least the participants still got to have the opportunity to push themselves to work hard and have fun while doing it. For example, these individuals clearly had some fun:

Of course, some were possibly upset because it was probably anti-climactic to not have the swimming portion, especially if a participant has plans to do more similar events across the state, country, or even the world.

Yet, there were some excited and enthusiastic spectators present, which was better than no spectators (like we saw in previous years with other community events) so some sense of normalcy is back.

The Top Winners

The top 3 in the international category were:

  • Jason West (1:35:22)
  • Benjamin Kanute (1:36:05)
  • Grant Wiggins (1:39:13)

The top 3 performers of the bike run were:

  • Arnaud Enjalbert (1:42:31)
  • Jose De La Roca (1:45:50)
  • Jamie Brown (1:47:21)

You can see the full scoreboard on the triathlon website.

Optimism Despite The Past

The last time this specific triathlon occurred was back in 2018.

In 2019 and 2020, excessive heat caused some problems, resulting in the event being sidelined. Then, the events of the pandemic ensured that both the 2019 and 2020 runs were effectively cancelled.

This year, in 2021, the race was dedicated to the health care workers who helped the city overcome the odds and battle the ongoing pandemic.

Without them, many of us would be in a lot of trouble.

In the future, perhaps this event will be back in full force. The people of New York City, New York, can only hope for a full-scale triathlon, especially for those looking to get some exercise, and looking to push themselves towards ultimate fitness and sport.

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Writer & Researcher | Therapist-in-Training | Crisis Responder | Writing wholesome stories for the masses.

New York City, NY
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