The word "triathlon" can be a scary thing for the novice competitor, conjuring up scenes of exhaustion, cramps and collapse to play alongside images of callused or bloodied feet. The perceived barrier for entry is so high that many avoid the event altogether.

For those athletes not quite iron enough for the Ironman, or for those who are but would like a change of pace, the Absecon Education Foundation's 2012 Pedal, Paddle, Run may be just the thing.

"My biggest belief is it's a race that anybody can do," race director Dan Driscoll said. "When people hear the world triathlon, they get scared of it. This is the type of triathlon that anybody can do, mainly because the distances are not that long and there's no swim."

The race, which was started in 2001 by Bill Parker, then president of the Education Foundation, has become the organization's biggest fundraiser, bringing in about $5,000 annually, Driscoll said.

The course begins at Heritage Park in Absecon and consists of a six-mile bike ride through the northern part of town to Faunce Landing, a 1.5-mile kayak course on the bay, and a 2.4-mile run back to Heritage Park. The race will take place Sept. 22, with a rain date Sept. 23. Registration is 7:30-8:30 a.m., and the race starts at 9 a.m.

"The nice thing about it is it involves the entire community," said James Giaquinto, Absecon schools superintendent. "If you participate you actually get a chance to see the beauty of the town, from the park, down to the bay, through some of the neighborhoods."

New to the Pedal, Paddle, Run this year is the use of stand-up paddleboards during the paddling portion of the race, an addition made to accommodate the increasing popularity of the watercraft. This year only four teams will be permitted to use them, but Driscoll said he hopes they will be open to all next year.

Each year the race attracts about 75 to 125 people, depending on conditions. The bulk of the competitors live in Absecon and the immediate area, though the race has been known to attract athletes from throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

Scott Sarraiocco, technology coordinator for the district, has participated in all but two Pedal, Paddle, Runs. While he enjoys the competition, he said the biggest draw each year is the support of the community, which packs the streets each year.

"There are other teachers and staff that participate and they also volunteer, and so do the students, so it's just a positive atmosphere," Sarraiocco said. "That has a lot to do with the whole educational community and the community of Absecon, and it's just a really positive experience."

Contact Braden Campbell:

609-272-7415

If you go

What: Absecon Education Foundation's 12th annual Pedal Paddle Run

When: Registration is 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Sept. 22, race begins at 9 a.m. Rain date Sept. 23.

Where: Heritage Park, Absecon

How much: $45 per captain/ironperson, $15 per additional team member advance. $55 per captain/ironperson, $20 per additonal team member on race day. $25 per captain/ironperson, $10 per additional team member for students.

More info: See abseconschools.org or call 609-641-5375.