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Triathlon spirit returns to Waco this weekend

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TWC News: Triathlon spirit returns to Waco this weekend
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The Brazos River may be quiet now, but come Sunday morning it will be filled with nearly a thousand athletes taking part in the fourth annual TriWaco triathlon.

The extra foot traffic in the area also has retailers like Outdoor Waco gearing up for a busy day.

"As a store, it’s right up our alley in terms of the customers we have coming in that are looking for bikes, and looking to be active outside," general manager Trinity Robb said.

Since the store has only been around for less than a year, it is hard to know how the event will impact business.

"We're looking forward to that, and hoping to see obviously an increase in business," he said.

This year organizers of the event said they are expecting the largest crowd since the event started back in 2009.

Each year, interest and participation in the event has grown, according to Greater Waco Chamber Sports and Special Events Vice President Blake Harris.

Harris did not have exact figures about the economic impact the event has on the area, however he said the benefits go beyond economics.

"Show people what you have and they'll come back, so that's kind of been the deal," he said. "We want to brag what we have on the river."

Athletes who participate in the triathlon get a taste of Waco by starting the race with a 1500-meter open water swim in the Brazos River.

The course then takes them on a 25-mile bike ride, finished up with a 10-kilometer run along the Brazos River and across the oldest suspension bridge in the United States.

"They may have never come off of I-35 before, but now this brings them into our city and really show off what we have," Harris said.

Waco is said to be the home of the first triathlon in the state.

Before the TriWaco event, a group hosted the first triathlon in May 1980. The event drew hundreds of participants over the years, until 1990 when they stopped holding the event.

One of the most notable participants in the original Waco Triathlon was 15-year-old Lance Armstrong, who set a record in 1987.

That record was never broken in the 12 year history of the race.

Organizers said registration for the race will remain open until Friday, as long as there are still spots available.

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