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Duathlon along historic Mohawk Towpath

Participants will get a taste of the history while getting some exercise in an upcoming race along the pathway of the Erie Canal.

The Mohawk Towpath National Scenic Byway is holding its eighth annual duathlon on Sunday, Oct. 17, starting at 9 a.m. at Krause's Grove located on 2 Beach Road in Halfmoon. The duathlon is a 2.2-mile run followed by a 16-mile bike stretch and ending with a 2.2-mile run to the finish line. A youth race will begin at 8:30 a.m.

It is a good community event that will introduce people to the scenic byway, said Larry Syzdek, chairman of the Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition. "Most the people that live in the area don't understand the great history the area has."

The full towpath stretches along the route of the Erie Canal from Waterford and Cohoes to Schenectady, so the duathlon gives people a change to see a stretch of the pathway route. This year is also the five-year anniversary of the byway being designated as one of America's Byways through the National Scenic Byways Program.

So far there are more 130 people registered for the event, said Eric Hamilton, executive director of the coalition and organizer of the race. This is already an increase from last year's numbers, which totaled 110 participants. The total number of people allowed in the race is 200 for this year, Hamilton said, because if they went over that number, the race might get "unwieldy" from a public safety standpoint.

Hamilton said part of the reason for the rise in participants this year is due to the race being sanctioned by the USA Triathlon association.

"It will be interesting to see if these USA Triathlon members are more serious," said Hamilton. "The loops that we have are on the short side, so it is more of a sprint type of a event than normal triathlon legs. These guys are used to a longer running and some of them do a longer biking leg in triathlon events."

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