Willow Creek Triathlon

A 300-yard swim at Quaker Lake in Allegany State Park

A 300-yard swim at Quaker Lake in Allegany State Park is the start of the Willow Creek Triathlon that raises money for the Disabled American Veterans in Warren and McKean counties. Photo courtesy ANF Visitors Bureau

Event Raises Money for the Disabled American Veterans Transportation Fund of McKean & Warren Counties.

The Willow Creek Triathlon allows athletes to swim, bike and run through some of the most beautiful parts of the Allegheny National Forest Region – and all for a good cause.

The triathlon, in its seventh year, is held to raise money for the transportation fund for the Disabled American Veterans of McKean and Warren Counties. This year’s triathlon is set for Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. The event actually starts at Quaker Lake in scenic Allegany State Park in New York State where registration opens at 7am. A rules meeting follows at 9am and the triathlon starts at 9:30am with a 300-yard swim across Quaker Lake, a manmade lake. Following the swim, participants ride their bicycles through the park, through Warren County, Pa. into McKean County, Pa., and to Giordano’s New Corydon Hotel. At that point, they start the three-mile run to the Willows Restaurant on Route 346.

Those interested in participating can do so either as individuals or as a team of two or three.

“We are extremely grateful for all those who participate in this worthwhile event,” said race director Shane Oschman. “We are also very humbled that the event keeps getting bigger and bigger each year.”

To date, the triathlon has reaped more than $57,000 for the DAV.

The committee decided to cap registrations this year at 400. Registration fees are $45 for an individual and $85 for a team. If spots remain, registrations may be accepted the day of the event, but the committee is strongly encouraging people to register before Aug. 4.

Even if you are unable to participate, you can still help the DAV by either becoming or sponsor or making a donation, which can be sent to Willow Creek Triathlon, PO Box 51, Bradford, PA 16701.

The triathlon has also gotten a lot of support from the local community, Oschman said.

“W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery, also located in Bradford, donates the awards given to the top athletes in both the male and female individual categories,” he explained. “These specially made knives are called the Thom Maholic Memorial Award in memory of Master Sgt. Thom Maholic, who lost his life while serving with the Special Forces in Afghanistan in 2006.”

Other awards are given after the race is complete. The Clydesdale Team Division is set up where all members of the team must weigh more than 200 lbs. Braveheart awards are given to those who make an extra effort under extenuating circumstances to complete the triathlon. In the past, this award has gone to a female cancer survivor and someone fighting a mental illness.

Just Riding Along of Bradford, a full service bike shop located on Mechanic Street in Bradford, has donated a new Trek road bike that will be raffled off at the event.

“We want to encourage anyone interested in participating to sign up,” Oschman said, adding this sprint triathlon is different than others since it’s a straight-line triathlon and not a loop. “To give something back to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us is the least we can do.”

People can also come to cheer on the participants and stay for food and music afterwards. There is also a guest speaker on tap.

To download a registration form, log onto www.WillowCreekTriathlon.org. More information on the triathlon is located on the website or on its Facebook page.

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