Posted by: Dennis Green | May 15, 2019

Going Down for the 20th Time

The Quad Cities Triathlon, going down on Saturday, June 15, is the only race in our series with its own theme song.

Anyone who has ever done the QCT will recognize the thumping bass beat and sampled vocals chanting “It’s About To Go Down,” as the race begins to get everyone fired up.

Race director Eric Sarno says he started signing race correspondence “It’s About To Go Down,” years ago, and it became kind of a catch phrase.

“You wouldn’t know it to look at me,” Sarno explains, “but I’ve always been a rap music fan. So a friend of mine created this remix that includes that phrase, and we’ve used it ever since.”

The race is the easternmost event in the Heart of America series, attracting more than 500 participants from Iowa, Illinois, and throughout the Midwest. The race takes place in West Lake Park, on the west edge of Davenport.

The 600-yard swim starts in time-trial format, two athletes at a time. The course is out and back, with plenty of safety support. There are no age waves. Swimmers self-seed, according to their estimated completion time, like in a road race.

The 15-mile bike takes you out in the country over some rolling hills. The 5K run stays in the park, with part of the course going over park trails to give you some relief from hard asphalt.


Jeff Kaczinski, John Grice, Ann Vestle, Fred Hemsath, and Guy Olson (l-r with R.D. Eric Sarno), have done all 19 QC Races!

It’s a beginner friendly race, with a variety of clinics and practice rides, runs and swims scheduled in the weeks prior, all designed to get beginning triathletes comfortable.

2019 is a bittersweet year for the race committee, as the Quad Cities racing community lost a dedicated and key volunteer. Beverly Wilson volunteered nearly every year the race has been going on. She passed away earlier this year, and the 2019 race will be dedicated to her.

Five athletes (pictured) have done all twenty of the Quad Cities races. If Jeff, John, Ann, Fred, and Guy participate this year, they’ll actually better the record of race director and founder Eric Sarno, who is turning race day duties over to his committee so that he can attend his daughter’s high school graduation.

The Quad Cities race is also a platform for stroke awareness, for which Eric has a very personal reason. He is a stroke survivor, and is grateful every day for the immediate medical attention he received that saved his life. 

“Most people who suffer a stroke do not return to work and hanging out with their friends, let alone organize a triathlon,” he says.

Stroke awareness is a part of the pre-race activities, and each participant receives information in their packet. The race committee donates a portion of the proceeds to stroke rehabilitation each year.

If you would like to get some lake time before the race, the Scott County Conservation Board generally offers some practice swim times the week prior to the race. More info at their website.

At packet pickup the night before the race, there is a USAT question and answer session near the Lake View Shelter at the park. This is a great opportunity for first timers to find out more about how to stay penalty-free.

There is an active Facebook community for the QCT, with dozens of athletes posting tips, offers to loan or rent equipment, invitations to training events, and updates from race staff. Check out the page and join the community here.

Race website:

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