The event, which is put on by the Carrollton Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department, begins at 8 a.m. and features a quarter-mile swim, 12-mile bike ride and 3.4-mile run, beginning at Lake Carroll and finishing on Lumpkin Drive toward Lakeshore Natatorium.
Dottee Morton, executive assistant of the CPRCAD’s Program and Special Populations Division, said participants in this year’s competition hail from Florida, Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, Illinois, Texas and, of course, Georgia. She added that the triathlon annually averages between 300-400 participants, with this year being no different.
The youngest participant this year is 12, with the oldest being 75. Dave Johnson is once again the director of the event, a position he’s held since 1995. The competition is second to only Callaway Gardens when it comes to the longest-running triathlon in Georgia.
Morton said the participants have made this weekend an annual tradition of coming to Carrollton — many of which actually took part in the very first triathlon 20 years ago.
“It’s a pretty big deal. They come from all over the Southeast. The feedback that we get from the participants about the hometown feeling of Carrollton ... A lot of them come for the weekend and stay because they love the rural area of Carrollton,” Morton said.
While the race begins at 8 this morning, Morton and her crew will be out and about at 5 a.m. putting the finishing touches on the course. She said it normally takes three days to get everything set up.
Morton added that the volunteer group is the Carrollton Junior Women’s Club and that police officers will also be on hand at key places throughout the course for traffic control and things of that nature to ensure the safety of all participants. She also said roughly a mile stretch of Northlake Drive will be blocked off for about a two-hour period this morning during the race.
And with the weather expected to cooperate, Morton expects year No. 20 to be another memorable one.
“This is one of our biggest annual events. Of course, we’ve been doing it for 20 years. It’s changed hands within the rec department over the years. I’ve done it for five years now. But it includes everything. We’ll have our Carroll County Rescue and Diving Squad out here for the water. It’s all based on age groups, gender. We have what we call the Clydesdale, which is the bigger guys, the muscle guys,” Morton said. “It’s just a great thing for everyone involved.”