Spectator’s Guide to the TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon 2015
Over 3,000 competitors will descend on Fairmount Park this weekend for the 11th annual TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon. Here’s what you need to know if you want to watch all the action.
The TriRock Philadelphia Triathlon is divided into two race divisions: the Sprint Race and the Olympic Race — the former being shorter and the latter being, well, longer. The Sprint Race consists of a half-mile swim, 15.7-mile bike ride, and 3.1-mile run. The Olympic Race includes a 0.9-mile swim, 24.8-mile bike ride, and 6.2-mile run. The point-to-point swim takes place in the Schuylkill River, the bike ride (two loops) east and west of the river, and the run along MLK Drive.
Dates & Times
This is a weekend-long event. The Sprint Race is on Saturday, June 27th, and begins at 7:30 a.m.; athletes are to arrive by 6:30 a.m. The Olympic Race is on Sunday, June 28th, beginning at 6:30 a.m. for elites and 7 a.m. for the rest of the field. Athletes may begin arriving for the Olympic Race as early as 4:30 a.m.
Both races are contained within East and West Fairmount Park along the Schuylkill River. Most of the action takes place on the MLK Drive side of the river, with the biking events taking athletes on loops that include time east of the river. The course map for the Sprint Course is here, and the Olympic Course is here. More detailed info on both courses is available here.
Where to Watch and Park
Because of necessary road closures (more on those on a minute), race organizers recommend parking and preparing to walk. As for where to plant yourself, that depends on which events you most want to see.
For both races, the convergence of all three events is the Transition Area; that’s where athletes will change and prep between swimming, biking and running. The Transition Area for both races—which also happens to be near the finish line—is on MLK Drive at Black Road, near the Please Touch Museum. You’ll be allowed to park at Please Touch, which makes it convenient.
However, these areas will be crowded, so other suggestions include parking on the East side of the river—again, check out the road closures below—to watch the swim from that side (Note: The Olympic swim starts further north and on the Kelly Drive side, at the St. Joe’s Boathouse; the Sprint swim begins on the MLK Drive side, just north of Peters Island.), then walking up Strawberry Mansion Drive to the Strawberry Mansion Bridge to see the cycling portion; the loops for both the Sprint and Olympic distances pass that spot. The running portions for both races are along MLK Drive.
If all you want to see are the elites whizzing by on their bikes on Sunday, you could stand at the Art Museum or East Falls Bridge. Those points are the top and bottom of the Olympic bike loop; you’ll see those competitors fly past you twice.
The race website has detailed road closure info coming soon, so you’ll want to check before you head out. The main thing to know is that the entire length of Kelly Drive will be shut down, so you won’t be able to park here. If you want to park east of the river, you can do so in the Fairmount neighborhood and walk, or park up near Strawberry Mansion.
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