Friday, February 20–Private Group Eyes New Fitness Events

OCEAN CITY – A private sector group with a long history of pulling off successful events announced this week it is stepping up to salvage the annual Seaside 10 race and introduced similar fitness-related events scheduled for in and around Ocean City in the coming months including the return of the popular half-marathon in April.

The annual Seaside 10 and 5K races, sponsored by the resort for years, were among the casualties of the mass budget cuts handed down by resort leaders recently as they attempt to reconcile a major gap between revenue and expenditures in the fiscal year 2010 budget. However, OC Tri-Running Sports, formerly Extreme Dream Events, announced this week it was picking up the ball on the annual race after meeting with the town’s special events committee.

“It just kind of worked out for both of us,” said OC Tri-Running Sports President Chris Klebe. “It’s always been a great event for the town, but it was cancelled or at least suspended because of budget cuts and they were looking for a private sector partner to step up and continue it. It can be a great opportunity for the town and for us.”

Meanwhile, the Seaside 10 is just one of the events OC Tri-Running Sports has planned for the next several months in the resort area. In March, the fitness company is partnering with Live Long Fitness and the Ocean City Health and Racquet Club to produce the first Ocean City Indoor Triathlon. As the name of the event implies, participants will complete an entirely indoor triathlon including swimming 30 lengths in a pool, biking for 30 minutes on an indoor bike and running three miles on a treadmill.

The event is scheduled for March 21 at the Health and Racquet Club with the first wave of competitors going off at 8 a.m. Proceeds from the event will be dedicated to the fledgling Stephen Decatur High School swim team. Klebe said the format allows first-timers and veterans to compete in a triathlon without the trepidation often associated with the elements.

“It’s basically for people who have always wanted to try a triathlon but have concerns about competing out in the weather,” said Klebe. “It takes some of the fear out of swimming in the ocean or bay.”

In April, OC Tri-Sports Running is once again sponsoring the Ocean City Half-Marathon, an event that has grown in popularity in recent years despite changes to the format. What started four years ago as a full marathon was reduced last year to a half-marathon with an associated 5K and other races with a starting line at the Inlet parking lot in Ocean City and a finish line at Assateague.

The course remains the same for this year’s half-marathon, scheduled for April 18, and the format will be very similar in terms of the events associated with the race, including a post-race party and awards ceremony at the Francis Scott Key Family Resort. The Ocean City Factory Outlets return as the event’s main sponsor, along with other local and regional sponsors.

In June, OC Tri-Sports Running is sponsoring two events associated with the larger Ocean City Beachfest 2009 event in the resort. The Beachfest will have its headquarters at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center with events related to fitness and the beach lifestyle held all weekend at different venues around the resort including a surfing pro-am, a skateboarding pro-am and a body-boarding pro-am. OC Tri-Running Sports will hold two races coordinated with the larger event over the course of the weekend.

On June 20, the company is sponsoring a Beachfest Boardwalk 5-Mile Race, which will begin and end at the Inlet and traverse the entire length of the Boardwalk. In addition, a one-mile fun run/walk race will be held on the Boardwalk the night before the five-miler race. Joe Decker, the “World’s Fittest Man,” is expected to be on hand to attempt to set a Guinness Book record.

Decker will try to complete the course in full military fatigues carrying a 56-pound pack in 36:47. Decker made a similar attempt at a record during one of the first Ocean City Marathons a few years back.

Also coordinated with Ocean City Beachfest 2009 is the first-ever Assateague Assault Triathlon, scheduled for the next day, June 21. It is a spring distance triathlon including a half-mile ocean swim, a 14-mile bike leg and a 3.2-mile run, all on Assateague Island. Proceed from the event will be dedicated to the Greater Ocean City Chapter of the U.S. Lifesaving Association and the Friends of Assateague State Park.

From the indoor triathlon next month, to the half-marathon in April to the races and events associated with Beachfest 2009, OC Tri-Running Sports is attempting to step in and fill a void in the resort’s special events calendar left vacant by proposed budget cuts.

“There is clearly a need and a desire for these types of events and we’re happy to be able step and in and help provide them,” said Klebe. “Getting sponsors has been a little tough in this economy, but we’ve been able to pull together some private and public resources.”

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