WHEELING - Faith in Action will be holding its 11th annual triathlon/duathlon on July 14 beginning at Wheeling Jesuit University.
The race is the only one of its kind in the area and Executive Director Jeannette Wojcik is expecting a big turnout with a decent number having already signed up for the race.
Not many people think they can take part in a triathlon or a duathlon so Wojcik is teaming with Wheeling Jesuit rugby strength and conditioning coach Chip Hulbert to put together two free training sessions. The first will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at the McDonough Center with the second being held the following Saturday.
''They are going to be very similar but that doesn't mean you shouldn't come to both,'' Hulbert said. ''A lot of times, if you haven't done this before, it's the little nuances of the race that kind of make or break it.
''When they come out of the pool and into the race area, that is where the race really begins. It's how you transition from the swim to the bike, putting on your socks and shoes and getting the bike going. The training sessions are really about the transition aspect. We are not going to teach you how to ride the bike or how to run.''
While this is a first for the race, it is nothing new to Hulbert. He is a long-time triathlete and marathon runner, as well as a certified USA Track and Field coach for more than 10 years.
Hulbert asked Wojcik a few weeks back if there had ever been a training session. Hulbert volunteered to help the runners prepare for a race that has a lot more detail involved than just stepping up to a start line and going.
''We want to make sure all the participants are fully prepared on how to set up and that will help them enjoy the race even more,'' Hulbert said. ''If you can enjoy the race that means you did well.
''This session can be very important so you know what to expect on race day.''
The sessions are expected to last at least an hour with a question and answer session to follow until the last question is answered.
The sessions are not limited to race participants.
''We have a lot of athletes that come for the first time so even if they came to the session and say 'maybe next year,' this is an introduction to something that you can get ready for,'' Wojcik said. ''This will help them get in the pool and get on that bike to better see what they are getting into.''
The race helps fund Faith in Action, an organization that supports the independent living of older adults and people with disabilities in Ohio, Marshall, and Belmont Counties. All services are provided without charge, regardless of income level and the money raised will provide coordination of services such as transportation, shopping, chores, visitations, etc.
Applications and more information for the race are available at the Faith in Action Caregivers office at 1359 National Road or on the organization's website at www.faithinactionwheeling.org. Participants can also register online at www.active.com.