Kent triathlon begins Saturday

Steve Opalko

At 9 a.m. Saturday morning, triathletes from northeast Ohio and beyond will meet at the Home Savings Plaza in downtown Kent to participate in the Black Squirrel Adventure Triathlon.

Things to Remember:

• A shuttle will be available for the white water (kayak) race to the River Bend Park starting location from Home Savings Plaza. The flat-water (canoe) contestants will walk to the starting location at Tannery Park.

• A bike corral will be available at Home Savings Plaza.

• Canoes and kayaks must be dropped off at the starting location.

• Personal flotation devices must be worn at all times for either the flat or white water race.

• All canoes and kayaks must be properly registered with the State of Ohio.

• Participants choosing to paddle the white water section must provide all required equipment, including boat, paddle, PFD, spray skirt and helmet. Participants paddling the whitewater section must wear a helmet at all times, and prior experience is necessary.


According to, the event strays from the traditional triathlon events of swimming, biking and running. This “adventure” triathlon gives participants the option to either canoe or kayak through 1.8 miles of flat water, or 3.5 miles of whitewater rather than swim, run 2.5 miles and bike 10 miles before finally crossing the finish line.

“The layout of the river and the concern for safety made the canoeing and kayaking a better alternative,” said Dave Herpy, outdoor adventure and camp coordinator for the Kent State Department of Recreational Services. “The ODNR (Ohio Department of Natural Resources) division of watercraft will be there to check boater registration and ensure safety.”

Athletes who choose to go the canoe route will start at John Brown Tannery Park (near the corner of Haymaker Parkway and River Street), and those choosing to kayak will start at Riverbend Boulevard. Both routes will head south toward Middlebury Road where they will begin running north back to the Home Savings Plaza to get on their bike and pedal two laps down Lake Road and through parts of the Portage Hike and Bike Trail.

Herpy said the idea for this triathlon started with a similar event held in the fall of 2008 called “Brady’s Leap.” In this event, 22 athletes completed numerous tasks associated with specific checkpoints involving rope courses, biking, running and canoeing. The race covered nearly 20 miles and took competitors more than four hours to complete.

“Tom Euclide, the Executive Director of University Planning, organized the Brady’s Leap event and had me get the ball rolling on this in November,” Herpy said. “It really has become a great partnership with Kent (State) and (city) Parks and Recreation.”

With more than 90 athletes already registered, Herpy hopes that the influx of out-of-towners will help boost the economy in downtown Kent.

Triathlon at a Glance

Check In: 8 a.m. at Home Savings Plaza (S. Water St. and Main St.)

Day-of Race Registration: 7 to 8 a.m.

Race Starts: 9 a.m.


• White water leg: 3.5 mi

• Flat water leg: 1.8 mi

• Running: 2.5 mi

• Biking: 10 mi

Race and T-Shirt Fees:

Individual: $30.00 per person, $40.00 per person day of race

Team (only 2 participants): $50.00 per team, $70.00 per team day of race

Relay (min 3, max 4 participants): $75.00 per team, $105.00 per team day of race

T-Shirts (optional): $10.00

Canoe and Kayak rental contact: Kent State Adventure Center – Dave Herpy 330.672.2803


“Hopefully people will stick around after the race and grab a bite to eat at Ray’s, or get a beer,” Herpy said. “Bringing in people from all over the area will really help downtown Kent.”

The Adventure Center has enlisted the help of local Boy Scouts to secure and transport bikes and serve refreshments to spectators. The triathlon has also received help from Main Street Kent in promoting the event, and live music is scheduled throughout the day.

If you are interested in participating in the event, but do not have a canoe or kayak, you can visit or to rent the vessel of your choice.

Contact Student Recreation and Wellness Center reporter Steve Opalko at [email protected].