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home > races/results > usa: new hampshire > the wallis sands sprint triathlon—a usat sanctioned event along the scenic new hampshire shore

The Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon—a USAT Sanctioned Event Along the Scenic New Hampshire Shore
Swim 1/3 mile, bike 14.5 flat miles, and run a 5K along the coast in this exciting sprint triathlon at Wallis Sands State Park in picturesque Rye, New Hampshire. It runs on September 18—transitioning, beginning and ending at Wallis Sands State Park in Rye, just south of Portsmouth.

The Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon—a USAT Sanctioned Event Along the Scenic New Hampshire Shore

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Active Running

By Skip Cleaver
Posted Tuesday, 30 August, 2011

Add one more race to the calendar and run this sprint triathlon at Wallis Sands at an ideal time of year—mid September when the beach is beautiful, the water still warm, and the crowds gone for the season. Space is limited and because of its accessibility and proximity to major New England cities, this second year race will fill up soon. This USAT-sanctioned event is brought to you by Pursuit Racing of Portsmouth, the same folks who established the Wallis Sands Half Marathon and the Twin Lights Half Marathon last month—both new sold out events in 2011. The Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon is sponsored by Trek Portsmouth who will offer bike and course support, as well as teh Meat House and Upper Crust Pizzeria, both serving up perfect post race grub.

The Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon is ideal for beginners and experienced racers alike, and also offers a Relay Team opportunity. The event begins at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, September 18, and will be over quickly so you can enjoy the day on beautiful coastal New Hampshire. You can save on registration for both individuals and teams if you register now

The swim portion is off the beach in the Atlantic Ocean and features a rectangular course—straight away from the beach, followed by a left turn to the northeast, parallel to the shore, with a final left turn back to the beach at Wallis Sands. The transition is a short run up the beach to the state park parking area, followed by a counter-clockwise bike loop of 14.5 miles. The bike course heads north on famous Route 1A with a left on Bracket Road followed by a right on Wallis Sands Road which then becomes Washington Road. There is a left on Central at about mile 7, followed by a left to go north on 1A again back to Wallis Sands. The 5K is a scenic run up to Odiorne State Park for the turnaround with a southbound finish back to Wallis Sands.

This is a beautiful time to enjoy the New Hampshire Shore, with the pristine sands of Wallis Sands Beach, the state parks and the Isles of Shoals in the distance just off shore. Many will take in the parks following the triathlon, and likely head to Portsmouth for some shopping, food and sight-seeing. If you have never been to these parks or to Portsmouth you are in for a real treat. And if you have been, you know that it is an ideal time to enjoy the shore and the city; a time when it is much quieter but you still have the warmth of summer to go along with the warmth of the natives without the beach-going tourists and traffic.

Post race celebrations and refreshments will start at 9:00 a.m., with awards at 10:30. And then it is on to the enjoyment of the day and the area!

If you are new to triathlons, or thinking of trying one, this would be the one to enjoy. The Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon will be a great opportunity for many new triathletes—conveniently located about an hour north of Boston and 45 minutes from Manchester, New Hampshire; an hour south of Portland, Maine and right off Interstate 95. It will include a relay, so if you want to experience a triathlon and team up with friends for the other portions, it would be a great outing to get your feet wet—or to bike or run and find out what triathlons are all about.

This race has a scenic and convenient location with plenty of parking, and it takes place during a wonderful season for triathlons—including an ocean swim while the ocean is the warmest of the year. But the real draw is the charming region and coastal beauty. Mid September is a wonderful time of year in New England, and New Hampshire--especially on the shore. Views of the surf and the distant Isles of Shoals make for a great start, transition and finish area, and a terrific overall venue.

This USAT-sanctioned event with the ocean swim, a counter-clockwise loop bike course, and a 5K out-and back on Ocean Boulevard insures that most of the miles are directly along the Atlantic, with half the bike course on rural or village roads along the inland pathways of the town of Rye. You will really enjoy Rye, New Hampshire —especially at this time of year when the entire area returns to relative quiet—a great time of year to run and bike along the coast.

This will be an intriguing bike route that runs adjacent to the shore for the first 2.7 miles before turning inland or south on Bracket Road just beyond Odiorne Point and Little Harbor. At about 4.3 miles the course turns right on Wallis Road, which turns into Washington Road. The course turns left just beyond the historic town hall on Central Road at about 6.5. There are a few mild hills on the course in the middle miles, but the highest point on the course is just over 80 feet, and of course most of it is near sea level. (The highest point in the entire town is 151 feet, Breakfast Hill.) So hills are small and climbs short.

The bike course returns back to Route 1A south of Jenness Beach, then heads north on Route 1A again along the shore for the last miles, passing scenic Rye Harbor along the way (deep sea fishing, whale watching, picture-postcard pretty spot). Those last miles are on beautiful Ocean Boulevard, Route 1A right back to Wallis Sands. The 5K run is entirely along Ocean Boulevard (Route 1A). There are great course maps on the Race Website, so check them out:

Volunteer-Enjoyable and Rewarding
Are you going to the race to watch a family member or friend? And would you like something to do? Or are you injured and not ready for this one as a participant? Volunteers are needed for registration, transition area, finish area, and all three courses. Volunteering is a great way to spend your morning, making the time pass quickly and doing something very important—and very rewarding. For information on volunteering contact Caitlyn Cedarstrom at

Pursuit Racing
This event is brought to you by a new event management company, Pursuit Racing, which was founded by Mike Murray and Stephanie Ridge of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Mike, a Gloucester, Massachusetts native and three-time Iron Man finisher, has competed in multiple racing and triathlon events around New England and the USA. Steph is an avid fitness enthusiast, rock climber and former Boston College Ice Hockey player. Steph and Mike also produce the Twin Lights Half Marathon (Rockport and Gloucester, Massachusetts), and the Wallis Sands Half Marathon, both in May. As athletes themselves, they have really strived to put on a fun and rewarding race for you. You will not be disappointed.

Wallis Sands and Rye, New Hampshire
This race takes place at Wallis Sands in the town of Rye, which may be new to many triathletes. It is a small town with a rich history and distinctive New England character. Rye has three state parks, probably the only town in New England with that distinction: Wallis Sands, Rye Harbor, and Odiorne Point State Parks. Interestingly, four of the famous Isles of Shoals belong to the town of Rye (the others belong to Maine).

Rye has fewer than 6,000 full time residents, so there is a small town atmosphere—especially notable in mid September, a great time to explore this region, whether running, biking or walking; it is still warm and is quiet with most tourists gone after Labor Day. It will be a quiet, lovely time along the Atlantic Ocean. Of Rye’s 35.5 total square miles, only 12.6 square miles of the town are land; the other 22.9 is marsh and protected wetlands, which makes this such a scenic and wonderful course. Wallis Sands State Park/Beach is very popular during the summer and boasts a large parking area.

Despite the current rural and small town atmosphere, residents of Rye enjoy close proximity to major New England cultural centers. Wallis Sands and Rye are easily accessible from Interstate 95 and Route 1 and centrally located about an hour equidistant from Boston, Portland, Maine, and Manchester, New Hampshire.

Wallis Sands Sprint Triathlon—Be There and Enjoy
For many reasons, this is a terrific place for a triathlon. Rye and Wallis Sands State Park are not only beautiful, pleasant natural areas, but also a major tourist destination. And you get a chance to enjoy it at an ideal time—comfortable weather, and quiet roads! It is a mixture of rocky shoreline, salt marshes, open fields, forested waters edge, and tidal waters, farms and residences. It provides beautiful views from many locations along the shore, including beaches, rocky outcroppings, and lovely homes.

New Hampshire has the shortest coastline of any US state bordering oceans, but it is one of the most picturesque; especially with the scenic roads, intriguing byways and off shore islands.

Check the race website for details and directions on how to get there. But do get there on September 18, 2011 for a USAT-sanctioned triathlon or relay. Have a terrific sprint along the Atlantic and through the historic village of Rye.



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