Washington’s only triathlon takes on new focus to combat water quality challenges
When triathletes dive off the dock and plunge into the Potomac Sunday, they’ll have the backing of a new partnership, the first of its kind for the city’s only triathlon.
Potomac Conservancy and the Nation’s Triathlon are joining forces to fight for a Potomac River that’s safe to swim in on race day and every other day of the year.
“We want the river to be clean enough to swim in every day, including race day. Thanks to this new partnership, we’re one step closer to achieving that goal,” said Hedrick Belin, President of Potomac Conservancy.
In years past, high levels of E.coli pollution in the river, caused by polluted runoff from heavy rains, have led to the cancellation of the swim portion the race. Though overall pollution levels in the Potomac are decreasing, the cancellation of last year’s swim demonstrates there’s more work to do.
“The Nation’s Triathlon recognizes the Potomac River faces a challenge with water quality and conservation. We are motivated as ever to work with Potomac Conservancy now to right the course for the Nation’s River,” said Bill Burke, President and Race Director of Premier Event Management, the race organizer.
Encouragingly, local infrastructure investments, including DC Water’s Clean Rivers Project, the first phase of which will be completed next spring, and the city of Alexandria’s plan to update its sewer system, underscore a local commitment to cleaning up our rivers and streams.
“Everyone, athletes and all of us who cheer them on, can do our part to ensure cleaner water in the Potomac by supporting local initiatives that stop pollution and restore the river to health,” Belin said.
The river is on its way to recovery. Potomac Conservancy’s bi-annual State of the Nation’s River Report, a science-based assessment of the river’s health, gave the Potomac a B- grade in 2016, up from a D just ten years go.
As water quality improves, more people are getting outside to enjoy the Potomac, the nation’s wildest urban river.
Outdoor recreation in Maryland and Virginia generates over $2.1 billion in state and local tax revenue annually, and that number is set to rise as investments are made to restore rivers and recreation spaces, the Outdoor Industry Association found in its recently released report.
The Nation’s Triathlon, now in its twelfth year, shows off the iconic landscape of Washington, DC. Up to 3,000 athletes bike, run, and swim in one of America’s most challenging races. The 1.5-kilometer swim in the Potomac offers athletes a rare chance to see the capital city’s monuments from the water. The Nation’s Triathlon is September 10, 2017 in Washington, DC. Please visit www.nationstri.com for more information.
About Potomac Conservancy
Founded in 1993, Potomac Conservancy is the region’s leading clean water advocate, fighting to ensure the Potomac River boasts clean water, healthy lands, and vibrant communities. The Conservancy improves local water quality through conservation and advocacy, and empowers a local clean water movement of 21,000 friends and supporters who fights for fewer chemicals in our drinking water, safe and pollution-free streams, protected forests and accessible parks, and healthy and thriving wildlife habitat. To learn more about how you can join “Team Potomac” in the fight for a cleaner, healthier Potomac River, visit www.potomac.org.
Special thanks to Rose Therapy Group
Team Potomac would like to give a special thanks to Rose Physical Therapy Group for their commitment to clean water. Watch their video on the Potomac River and our partnership with the Nation's Triathlon on YouTube. You can learn more about our clean water allies at Rose Physical Therapy Group and how they’re helping to keep our community healthy at rosept.com.
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