CAZENOVIA — Earlier this month, Cazenovia resident Chary Griffin traveled to Hamburg, Germany to represent the United States in the 2023 World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships, held July 13-16.
Griffin raced as an age group amateur in the 75-79 Age Group Sprint Distance and the 70-79 Age Group Sprint Relay, finishing sixth in both events.
The sprint distance race featured a .5 km swim, 20 km bike, and 5 km run. During the relay, four athletes, two men and two women, each completed a mini sprint triathlon — a .25 km swim, 10 km bike, and 2.5 km run — before tagging off to a teammate.
“The venue was spectacular,” Griffin said. “The waterfront area of downtown Hamburg, known as the Binnenalster, was the setting for the swim, and the nearby roadways were used for biking, and the run followed the shoreline. The dramatic finish line was back at the edge of the Binnenalster.”
Griffin qualified for the Hamburg races last summer at the USA Triathlon National Championships in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Later this summer, she will return to Milwaukee for this year’s national championship races. She is also headed to Pontevedra, Spain in September to compete in the world championships for the Olympic distance — a 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run.
After her final competition of the race season, Griffin plans to use the fall to rest.
“I like to stay fit all year, so I do snowshoe racing in the winter months which is hugely aerobic and easy on the joints,” she said. “Then at Easter, I begin my triathlon training for summer races.”
Griffin has been doing triathlons since the late 1980s, at which time she was competing with only two or three other women in local races.
“There were very few women who competed in those days,” she said. “. . . We borrowed our kids’ bikes and did it in shorts and a bathing suit. Triathlon had not become a business yet.”
Since then, Griffin has raced in world championships in Australia, New Zealand, Hungary, Canada, England, the US, and now Germany. She also qualified for the championships in Bermuda, Mexico, China, and the United Arab Emirates but was unable to attend due to COVID and injuries.
Locally, Griffin has been a longtime supporter of the Cazenovia Triathlon, which is scheduled this year for Aug. 20 at 8 a.m. at Lakeside Park.
The race is presented by the CNY Triathlon Club and sanctioned by USA Triathlon (USAT), the national governing body for the multisport disciplines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon, and winter triathlon in the US.
“Our Cazenovia race is a USAT-sanctioned race, which means that if you place in the top two or top 15 percent of your age group — whichever is greater — in a USAT-sanctioned age group triathlon of any distance, you will qualify for the next year’s national championship,” said Griffin, who is helping to organize the local race.
Open to adults and youths ages 16 and older, the Cazenovia Triathlon features multiple opportunities to compete, including a sprint triathlon distance, an intermediate or Olympic distance triathlon, a new bike/run sprint, aqua bike in both sprint and intermediate distances, and relay teams in both intermediate and sprint distances.
Sign up for the Cazenovia Triathlon at raceroster.com/events/2023/67495/caz-tri.
“Cazenovia is a great place to train for a triathlon [with its] miles of country roads to bike and run and open water swimming in the lake, [which] is always fun,” said Griffin. “For more instruction, the CNY Triathlon Club is a wonderful resource; for a nominal fee, there is [training] every Wednesday night at Jamesville Beach with several swim distances, a bike course of 12 miles, and a run on the park trails.”
Griffin also advised people interested in getting started in triathlon to join a YMCA triathlon group that provides basic swimming and open water swimming practice as well as supervised bike rides and runs.
For first-time racers, she recommended not only the Cazenovia Triathlon but also the women’s Gillie Girl Sprint Triathlon in Camillus and the Green Lakes Triathlon in Fayetteville.
To learn more about the CNY Triathlon Club or to join its weekly training, visit cnytriathlon.org.