Atlantic City will host two triathlons next year with one having a distinctive international flair.
Challenge Family, which runs a global series of 21 long-distance triathlons in 13 countries, will stage its first race in the United States in the resort on June 29, 2014.
A news conference today will announce more details about Challenge Atlantic City, which is expected to attract more than 2,000 athletes from around the world.
Stephen Del Monte, the race director for the Atlantic City Triathlon that was held last Sunday, will also be in charge of this international event along with Robert Vigorito. Vigorito started the Columbia Triathlon in Maryland in 1983 and ran it every year until stepping down in 2013.
“This is going to be a production on a world-class level,” Del Monte said. “This is a company that spans the globe and they’re making their debut in the United States, the number one market in the world of triathlon, in Atlantic City.
“Of the 80 places it could have gone, Atlantic City seemed perfect for them and I think that’s a testament to Atlantic City and what we’ve been able to do here.”
Del Monte, a Wildwood native, added that this is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of the people involved in the event.
The Atlantic City race will be held the week after the organization's Challenge Roth in Germany, which is the world's largest long-distance race with more than 5,000 participants.
According to the Challenge Family’s website, it also runs the oldest triathlon in North America in Challenge Penticton in Canada; the oldest race in Europe, Callenge Almere in Amsterdam; the oldest race in Asia, Challenge Laguan Phuket in Thailand; and the oldest race in Australia, Challenge Forster.
This announcement comes days after Del Monte’s event in Atlantic City. Coinciding with the Atlantic City Seafood Festival, the triathlon received a number of incredibly positive reviews from the athletes and city, Del Monte said.
Del Monte said the first year in 2011 was a complete mystery to the city and the people involved and that 2012 was an improvement, but a lot of mistakes were made in the actual course.
“I took all the feedback from the athletes and the city and we implemented new plans and new strategies for this year,” Del Monte said. “And when I say we executed flawlessly in terms of following through in what we said we were going to do, we executed flawlessly and the feedback has been absolutely amazing.”
Michael Egan of Newtown Square, Pa., won the international category in a time of 1 hour, 44 minutes, 19.4 seconds. Eric Schrading of Galloway Township was third in 1:52:26.4.
The top three in the women’s international race were all locals with Martha Grinnell of Ocean City finishing first in 1:59:04.8, Susan Reich of Ocean City (2:06:17.6) and Carrie Merritt (2:06:52.7).
One of the highlights of Sunday’s event was the inaugural Paratriathlon Mid Atlantic Regional Championships. Del Monte said nine competitors entered with Scot Seiss of Rocky Ridge, Md., finishing first in 58:09.9. Jessica Rogers from Springfield, Va., was the top female finisher in 1:28:53.
Competitors raced hoping to qualify for the USA Paratriathlon National Championships in 2014.
“We started the event with them and allowed them to complete the swim,” Del Monte said. “Having every athlete witness these people with challenges they wake up with every day, and literally claw themselves up the ramp and out of the water without the use of their legs — some without the use of their arm — I can tell you there was not a dry eye out there.
“It put everyone in a perspective that opened them up to this feeling of gratitude of just being healthy and just having everything on their body work.”
Del Monte anticipates the Atlantic City Triathlon to continue to grow. There were more than 1,300 registered participants and more than 1,000 crossed the finish line, an increase from 2012.
“I fully believe that next year we will exceed 1,500 finishers,” Del Monte said. “I’m confident that we will grow our entire triathlon.”
Contact John Russo:
Atlantic City Triathlon results
Men’s international results
1. Michael Egan, Newtown Square, Pa.: 1:44:19.4
2. Brian Quigley, Yardley, Pa.: 1:47:24.7
3. Eric Schrading, Galloway Township: 1:52:26.4
4. Richard Miller, Seaside Park: 1:52:36.7
5. Max Zevin, Bethesa, Md.: 1:52:55.1
Women’s international results
1. Martha Grinnell, Ocean City: 1:59:04.8
2. Susan Reich, Ocean City: 2:06:17.6
3. Carrie Merritt, Marmora: 2:06:52.7
4. Danielle Kays, Bel Air, Md.: 2:09:08.1
5. Jillian Reichardt, Seaside Park: 2:09:09.6
Men’s sprint results
1. Ford Palmer, Smithville: 50:35.1
2. Ben Delia, Lancaster, Pa.: 51:59.8
3. Kevin Trinchere, Bethlehem, Pa.: 53:11.4
4. Quoc Ngo, Conshohocken, Pa.: 53:57.2
5. Chris Ward, Brick: 54:16.0
Women’s sprint results
1. Zoe Gan, Philadelphia: 59:21.4
2. Jess Burns, Philadelphia: 1:00:39.0
3. Amanda Rinderer, Bayville: 1:02.28.3
4. Mary Moore, New York: 1:02:43.3
5. Megan Tompkins, Hackettstown: 1:02:55.9
(For complete results, go to PressofAtlanticCity.com/sports)