Inaugural PATCO Mixed Relay Championships Set for Sunday in Florida
7 Mar, 2014
American Mile Record Holder Alan Webb to Make Triathlon Debut
Top U.S. elite triathlon talent will be on display Sunday at the first-ever Pan American Triathlon Confederation (PATCO) Mixed Relay Pan American Championships, held in Sarasota at Nathan Benderson Park.
The mixed relay format, also referred to as 4 x Mixed Relay by the International Triathlon Union (ITU), was introduced in 2009 and consists of four athletes - two men and two women - each completing a super sprint triathlon before tagging their teammate. Sunday's event will begin at 8:30 a.m. ET and each athlete will swim 350 meters, bike 6.4 kilometers and run 2 kilometers.
The United States plans to field at least seven teams, including a squad composed of history-making runners Alan Webb (Beaverton, Ore.), the current American mile record holder who is making the switch to multisport following a legendary running career, and Lukas Verzbicas (Chula Vista, Calif.). Webb and Verzbicas are two of only five U.S. high school runners to have ever clocked sub-four minute miles.
In addition to Webb and Verzbicas, U.S. athletes set to compete include Ryan Bice (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Summer Cook (Thornton, Colo.), Kaitlin Donner (Satellite Beach, Fla.), Avery Evenson (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Luke Farkas (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Katie Gorczyca (Las Vegas, Nev.), Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.), Eric Lagerstrom (Gresham, Ore.), Sara McLarty (Clermont, Fla.) and Jarrod Shoemaker (Clermont, Fla.). Complete team rosters will be confirmed Saturday evening prior to Sunday's race.
As the Continental Championship for the Pan American Confederation, only one team from each PATCO nation will be counted in the final results. The start list currently includes a total of 12 teams from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Click here to view the start list.
Given the non-stop action, audience and television appeal and on-course gender equity, the ITU is striving to add the mixed relay format to the program for the Olympic Games. The ITU first held a mixed relay world championship event in 2009 at the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines, Iowa, and the format was included as part of the first-ever Youth Olympic Games in 2010 in Singapore. In 2013, the U.S. team of Gwen Jorgensen, Ben Kanute, Sarah Groff and Cameron Dye earned a bronze medal at the ITU Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, Germany. USA Triathlon has held a mixed team relay event as part of its Collegiate National Championships since 2012.
PATCO is comprised of 38 National Federations, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Cuba and more. The PATCO Triathlon Championships were first held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in 1997 and return to the United States on May 31-June 1, 2014, in Dallas, Texas, for the first time since 2009 in Oklahoma City, Okla. For more on the PATCO Federation, visit patco.triathlon.org.