Posted by: Dennis Green | June 3, 2015

Series Races Cater to Newcomers

While the Heart of America series launches with Hickory Grove in May, for most racers the season truly begins in June with the Pigman Sprint and/or the Quad Cities Triathlon.2014-06-01 07.44.16

These two events are the most popular races in the series, often filling up shortly after the new year begins. Each also has the reputation of being extra-friendly to newcomers.

At the Pigman, now in its 24th year, race director John Snitko has seen two generations of racers debut as novices and grow to become experienced and sometimes elite athletes.  But the Pigman remains extra-friendly to beginners. John regularly posts and shares training tips, by email and at his site He also sometimes brings in clinicians, like Pigman course record holder David Thompson, to share stories and tips.

Quad Cities director Eric Sarno takes his obligation to provide a good experience to novices extra-seriously.

“I give my phone number out to every racer,” he says. “Other race directors think I’m crazy, but I want every participant to know that if they have a question, they can reach out to me at any time.”

Because triathlon combines three different disciplines, with the added complication of transitioning from swim to bike to run, triathlon may have the biggest learning curve of any sport. It’s extra-important for beginners to know that any question they may have has probably been asked before. But this doesn’t mean they should be afraid to ask. It simply means odds are the question can be answered quickly and easily.

“I want everyone to understand that they’re not the first person to be nervous, or to ask a particular question,” Sarno continues. “My biggest worry is beginners who don’t ask questions. It’s the people who show up day of race late, or don’t know where to go, or don’t know how or where to rack their equipment that can make everyone else’s job harder. No one should ever feel intimidated about asking. We’re prepared for and welcome both the beginner and the experienced triathlete.”

Even though both races are closed, the Pigman and Quad Cities websites contain a wealth of information and training tips that can benefit you even if you aren’t doing that particular race.  Visit them at:


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