Hop on your bikes, lace up your running shoes, and get ready to take the plunge into Musselman Triathlon this weekend! The annual event, now in its seventh year, is taking place from Friday, July 9 to Sunday, July 11 and promises fun for the whole family.
Directing Musselman is triathlete Jeff Henderson. Seven years ago, while Henderson was living in Geneva, he began to think that the city, with its quiet roads, a lakeside park, and the clean, beautiful Seneca Lake, could be the perfect place for athletes to showcase their running, biking, and swimming skills.
“Geneva is a perfect venue for a triathlon,” says Henderson. “The community is welcoming, the course is scenic, and the Colleges are supportive. Geneva is just a fantastic place.”
Each year, the Colleges support the Musselman by providing volunteers and housing. Many athletes who participate in the event are affiliated with the Colleges. This year, Lauren Morosky ’12 and Assistant Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Ruth Shields will race in the Mini-Mussel. In addition, volunteers include Kara Ruskin ’12, Web Developer John Heavey ’09, former Leadership Development Coordinator Lynn Shollen, William Smith Rowing Coach Sandra Chu, and Network and Systems Infrastructure Team Leader Derek Lustig. Each summer, Chu and Lustig run an aid station outside of their home to support the triathletes.
In its first year alone, the Musselman drew in 550 athletes. Seven years later, there are almost 1,900 participants, with a waiting list of 100. About 1,000 athletes will compete in the half-iron triathlon on Sunday, which consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run. In addition, 85 athletes will participate in the Mini-Mussel – a 750-meter swim, 16.1 mile bike ride and 3.2 mile run – on Saturday. There’s even MusselKids, a pint-sized triathlon for children ages 7-14. It’s no wonder Musselman is rated the country’s “most family friendly” triathlon by Triathlete Magazine.
This year, Henderson added even more fun: a “Micro-Mussel,” which consists of a 100-yard swim, .2 mile run, and .6 mile tricycle – yes, tricycle – race. The event opens the race on Friday evening and will be held twice. The winners of the first race, male and female, will win $500 each. In addition, the overall winner will receive the commendation of “Undisputed Undeniable MicroMussel Super-Sprint Champion of the Universe.”
So why is it called the “Musselman?”
Henderson, who has family ties to Geneva and spent many summers on Seneca Lake, explains, “I wanted the name to reflect something unique about Geneva.” The playful pun on “muscle” draws attention to the zebra mussels that make Seneca Lake their home.
“The mussels are the reason the water is so clear, which makes the lake wonderful to swim in.”