DC Triathlon (Tri) Club, one of the largest triathlon clubs in the nation, has had a long relationship with Luray Triathlon. Considering the race’s proximity to Washington, D.C., the club has regularly sent dozens of members to the Luray Triathlon every year since its inception in 2006. “We raced in Luray back when it was an independently organized race,” says DC Triathlon Club President Bryan Frank. “We continued to support the race after Racine Multisports took over the event and maintained the small, independent, and local feel of the race. That is what we really love. The support of the Luray, Va., community as well as the low-key fun atmosphere surrounding the race itself has always made it a club member favorite.”
DC Tri Club got its start in the late 1990s as a listerserv, prior to being formalized as a non-profit club in 2001. What began as a group of friends wanting to swim, bike and run together has grown to around 1,000 members that still aims to be a group of friends who want to train and race in the multisport discipline. “While our official club mission is to empower our members to achieve their multisport aspirations, our unofficial club mantra is ‘a social club with a triathlon problem,’” Bryan says. Despite its size, the club still strives to maintain a small club feel that makes everyone feel welcome and helps everyone succeed, no matter their goals. “We run the gamut in speeds from fast to slow, in age from young to old, and in experience from veteran to novice.”
One of the challenges Bryan faces as president of the DC Tri Club is keeping a group that size feeling connected. Through both board-driven and member-driven initiatives, the club has training swims, rides, and runs, as well as social events that happen regularly throughout the region. They aim to have something DC Tri Club-related offered in close proximity to all members so that they feel welcomed and included. “There is a place for everyone in the DC Triathlon Club,” Bryan says.
Mark Wigfield, from South Arlington, is a federal worker retiring this December who bikes to work in Southwest D.C., near The Wharf. He likes the cross-disciplinary aspect of triathlon and well-rounded conditioning. “I have done running races over the years, including one marathon, and I swam off and on for fitness and rehab after a mountain biking accident,” he says. “Racing triathlons put it all together.”
A member of DC Tri Club for two years, Mark is no stranger to Luray. When he first heard about the triathlon several years ago online, he was eager to try it. He had been hiking and canoeing in Luray for years and had friends with a cabin just outside of town. “I like the hills and the town and the fact that you can camp onsite,” he says of the Luray Triathlon. Mark has raced in it at least five times and has been on the age-group podium, in second or third place, four times.
This year, Mark has been training for Luray by following an intermediate international training plan that is available through Garmin Connect. In the past he’s also taken classes offered through the DC Tri Club on planning a racing season and heart rate training, which he says have been very helpful.