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Sprint and Olympic-length triathlon planned for January

Mark your date — Saturday, January 24, 2015 will be the next triathlon held in American Samoa.  The first one ever held here was in July this year, and although the turnout was small in number, it was considered a great success for a place, which had never held such an event before. Training sessions begin on January 6.


According to one participant Ms. Patty Wells — a veteran triathlete from south Florida who now calls the territory home — she enjoyed taking part in the first one held here.  She said, “There were people lined along the roads, and people in buses cheering us on… and even the police gave us support and safety as they escorted us the entire length of the bike ride.”


Joe Tavale, local Triathlon Coordinator and owner of Samoa Prosthetics, told Samoa News, “We’ve got a committee put together to organize the next event, and the important thing is the distance.”


For the Sprint: it will be a 1/2 mile swim + a 12 mile bike and then a three mile run — and according to organizers, it can be a relay, with up to three participants — one entering the swim, one doing the bike ride, and one finishing with the run — with each person meeting in the “transition zone” to take over their portion of the race.


The Olympic distance race will have participants swimming a one-mile distance, biking 22 miles, and then a six-mile run — and this can also be done as a relay.


The course used in January will be slightly different than the one that was used for the first triathlon in the territory, according to organizers.


Training sessions for the upcoming triathlon will begin on January 6, on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium from 5pm-6pm. If you want to participate be sure to bring your bike and helmet. (One must have a bike helmet, according to International Triathlon Union rules.)


The American Samoa Swimming Association, led by Zero I’ualoalo, will conduct swimming training.


Local head of the triathlon events, Joe Tavale, says that for this next event there will also be a focus on a children’s triathlon, with distances yet to be determined. “This will be a measure   to encourage a healthy lifestyle… to encourage the children of the territory to be active and have fun at the same time,” he said.


Currently, the group is looking for appropriate bikes, which include beach cruisers and ten speeds. Ten speeds are the lightest bikes, and therefore, the most advantageous for an event such as this, where speed counts.




For the uninitiated, a triathlon involves three separate events in the following order —swim, bike and run. For the Sprint distance, participants in international meets will swim the distance of 6/10th of a mile, bike 12 miles and then run three miles.


According to one Wells, a veteran, “Triathlons are fast-paced events, which require training and a sense of adventure. Entering the water, participants need to wear goggles to keep their eyes safe from the salt water, as this event will be held in Pago Pago harbor.


When participants finish their swim, they immediately transition to their bicycles, grab their bike helmets and set out on their bike course, this time to be a loop course going up and down the main road in Pago Pago until they complete the intended distance for their event, be it Olympic or Sprint distance.


For the Sprint distance, participants will cover 12 miles, while the Olympic distance participants will cover 22 miles. After finishing the cycling portion of the race, everyone transitions to the Run portion of the event, the final leg of their triathlon.


Bikes are to be racked in the Transition Area near the beach, and once participants take off their helmets and rack their bikes, they begin the run, which will be three miles for Sprint participants and six miles for the Olympic participants.


It is an exciting sport and the new American Samoa Triathlon Club encourages everyone to come out and begin training for this exciting sport. “Come out and enjoy one of the fastest growing multisport events and bring the kids, too!”