This Summer: Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon


Written by Ritanne Duszak 

New challenges represent opportunities to accomplish new goals. If you have ever thought about doing a triathlon, this summer is the perfect chance to check that box. On Sunday, July 8th, the Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon will feature a 400 meter swim in Kelly Pool, a 9 mile bike course closed to traffic, and a 5k run. This is a terrific distance, in a convenient location, that provides a great mixture of competition and support for your triathlon debut.

From my own experience, all-women’s triathlons are typically very encouraging toward less experienced participants, so they can be a great place to get your feet wet – literally and figuratively. The Women’s Philadelphia Triathlon has options for duathlon (no swimming) and aquabike (no running), which offer even more flexibility for first-timers.  Maybe the best part is that the swim for this event is in a pool, so you won’t have to worry about water quality, visibility, or temperature, and you don’t need a wetsuit. For an even higher comfort level, you might squeeze in a few pre-race practice swims at Kelly Pool once it reopens at the end of June.

The bike course is mostly on West River Drive, so the turns aren’t nearly as technical as the Philly Triathlon course (held in June) — and you only have to climb one hill. Here again, you can get as much pre-race practice as you want, because nearly the whole course is closed to traffic each Saturday and Sunday starting in April.

Lastly, a few of the beautiful hills of Fairmount Park will await you on the run. What a perfect opportunity to see what your legs have in them after tackling the swim and the bike! There is a special wobbly-leg phenomenon as you make the transition to the run that you can only experience in triathlon, but that gives you an added adrenaline rush as you push through it with each step.

download (1).jpg

Signing up for my first triathlon – which was a sprint distance race - was incredibly nerve-wracking, and it feels that way for almost everyone who does it. But it was also one of the best decisions I have ever made. It pushed me out of my comfort zone with an enormous challenge, and I crossed that finish line with a sense of accomplishment that was worth every second. Make this the year that you expand your horizons, and try something that perhaps you have only dreamed of.

If you need any tips to get started with triathlon training, check out my previous blog Beginner's Guide to Triathlons

Ritanne Duszak is a Philadelphia-based running and triathlon coach who holds an M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Drexel University. She is a USA Triathlon and USA Track and Field certified coach. Ritanne is also an athlete herself, having raced in ultra marathons, Iron distance triathlon races, including the Ironman World Championship, and has finished in the top 100 women at the Boston Marathon. She can be reached at: