By Alicia Dziak

As summer winds down in Western New York, outdoor activities in the area keep going strong, and outdoor excitement at Allegany State Park (ASP) is no exception.

On Saturday, Sept. 27, New York’s largest state park hosts the annual XTERRA ASP and XTERRA EPIC triathlons, sponsored by score-this.com.

“Athletes come from all over the country to compete,” said Greg Murnock, XTERRA event coordinator for the WNY region. “Last year, we had about 150 competitors.”

The XTERRA ASP and XTERRA EPIC are both part of the XTERRA series, in which athletes across the country compete for prize money, national titles and slots in the World Championship. The series is grouped into geographic regions, and each region has various races that runners can compete in to accumulate points toward their regional championship. Top athletes advance to nationals and, finally, the best of the best head to the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Hawaii.

A little history about the series:

According to www.xterraplanet.com, in 1996, a race called Aquaterra was held in Maui, Hawaii. The race consisted of an open-ocean swim, a mountain bike race and a trail run, and represented a new racing format that attracted mountain bikers and triathletes alike. These outdoor enthusiasts soon discovered a common attitude that pulled them together.

“For as different as they are, neither could resist the challenges and thrills this new multisport offered, and the XTERRA was born.” (www.xterraplanet.com)

As an interesting side note, the XTERRA name was rented for 10 years by Nissan for their popular SUV by the same name.

The XTERRA ASP includes a .6-mile swim in Red House Lake, followed by a 15-mile bike portion and concludes with a 4.5-mile run. The latter portions include the cross-country trails that are part of the Art Roscoe trail system that lead through the Summit area of Red House.

The longer EPIC race includes a 1.2-mile swim, a 36-mile bike ride and a 9.5-mile run. Two relays are also on the schedule — one for each distance — for two or three person teams.

According to Murnock, the relay option is ideal for a group in which each participant shines in one of the three events.

“One athlete can do the swim, another can do the bike ride, and a third can do the run,” he said.

While the races are geared toward seasoned athletes, anyone is welcome to sign up and compete.

Registration starts at $65 for the short race. Pre-registration is required and can be done online at www.score-this.com, or in person at race packet pickup on Friday, Sept. 26. All entries include a T-shirt and post-race party.

The race begins and ends by Red House Lake, and parking is available by the lake’s boathouse and across the street at the Beehunter Rec Area, which is also the location of the race packet pickup.

The shorter triathlon will begin at 8 a.m. with a wave start, and the EPIC race will begin at 8:10 a.m. Exact wave start times will be posted on the website about one week before the event.

Interested but not quite ready to compete?

Come out to the park to watch this exciting event, cheer on the competitors and learn what it takes to be an XTERRA athlete!

“Come see what it’s all about!” urged Murnock. “If you see our staff or racers, ask them questions. We like to get people involved!”

For more information, please visit www.score-this.com or email info@score-this.com.