Five Locals Kona Bound

L-R: Chad Kufen, Sophie Evans and Jason Biggs.
L-R: Chad Kufen, Sophie Evans and Jason Biggs.

Triathlon growth may be leveling off across the country, but it’s still ramping up in the Raleigh/Cary area.

On September 27, more than 2,500 athletes from across the U.S. and around the world participated in Ironman
Chattanooga, each competing for the opportunity to race at the Ironman World Championship in Kailla-Kona, Hawaii in October 2016.

Of the 50 slots available, 5 went to local athletes (yeah, the City of Oaks claimed 10 percent of the total)!

These five, who train at Inside/Out Sports in Cary, are Kona-bound next year: Jason Biggs, 41,  Jeanna Chain 43, Sophie Evans, 43, Chad Kufen, 43, and Michael Sumbs, 29. Each of them was a top finisher in his or her age group.

Maybe it’s the climate or maybe it’s because there are so many great triathlon races across North Carolina, but our area is not seeing the leveling off of other states.

USA Triathlon (USAT) Membership stands at over 477,000 nationally, down from 495,330 in 2013, according to the 2014 USAT Membership Report. But North Carolina has the ninth-most USAT members of any state and produces the fifth-most events.

“Raleigh and Cary are great places to train throughout the year,” says Jason Biggs. “Swim facilities are readily available and open year round, and we’re surrounded by three lakes for open water swimming. For running, there are many great choices with varied terrain, from American Tobacco Trail, which is flat, to Umstead Park, which is hilly.”

Chad Kufen adds: “There are lots of quiet roads with challenging terrain to ride and hundreds of miles of park service trails and greenways. The Raleigh and Cary communities are also very supportive of the local athletes, showing great enthusiasm at local events as well as great respect and understanding while we are on the roads training.” Congrats!

Christa Gala

Christa Gala

Christa Gala worked for 16 years as a newspaper columnist and freelance writer across digital and print platforms before joining Raleigh Magazine. Gala is in her fifth semester teaching Writing and Reporting at UNC-Chapel Hill’s renowned School of Media and Journalism.
Christa Gala

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