On Sunday 25 June, nearly 1,500 amateur and professional athletes endured a modified race course due to the cancellation of the swim at this year’s 13th annual Philadelphia Escape Triathlon. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Penn State graduate Jason West and Alicia Kaye from Clermont, Florida, took first place honours in the men and women’s pro division.
To ensure the safety of the athletes, city and race officials cancelled the 1.5k swim portion of the triathlon because of unsafe water conditions from extremely strong river flow and increased debris in the river caused by recent heavy rain. The modified racecourse included a 2-mile run, a 40k (24.8 mile) bike section and a 4.2-mile run through Fairmount Park and the surrounding areas.
New this year, the Philadelphia Escape Triathlon is serving as a qualifier for the 2018 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. The top three finishers per age group will receive coveted entry slots into the 2018 Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. First place finishers in each age group will win a complimentary race entry.
“It was a great feeling to race and win my first big triathlon as a pro here in my hometown amongst my family and friends,” said 2017 Philadelphia Escape Triathlon Winner Jason West. “It felt amazing to hear everyone cheering all along the course. I was disappointed the swim was cancelled because I have really been working hard on my swim, but I ended up having the best bike leg of my life. Racing alongside my mentor Cameron Dye and Rio Olympian Ben Kanute during the final run was really special.”
The modified race format started at 06:30 local time, with the male pros then female pros, followed by the age group racers released in waves.
The Philadelphia Escape Triathlon is owned and produced by Premier Event Management, which organises multisport and endurance racing events from coast to coast across the USA. Established in 1993, PEM owns and manages more than 25 widely recognized triathlon, running, cycling and endurance events. In addition to the production of wholly owned events, New Orleans-based PEM also provides services required for new or established events, from consulting services to complete turnkey productions.