Kannapolis duathlon Saturday
By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS ó Saturday, more than 300 runners and cyclists will converge on downtown Kannapolis for the first Kannapolis Rotary Nutrithon.
The event will be held on the grounds of the N.C. Research Campus and streets around the city. It will help raise money for housing at the N.C. Research Campus for visiting students and researchers.
The Nutrithon features a duathlon ó a 5K run followed by a 25K bicycle race and a final 3K run ó set to start at 9 a.m.
A separate 5K and 8K run kick off concurrently at 7:45 a.m.
There will also be a childrenís bicycle safety rodeo, with bikes provided for kids to practice safe riding techniques.
The kidsí event starts at 10 a.m.
Food and drinks will also be available for a suggested $10 donation.
As participants converge on Kannapolis, organizer William ěWhitî Whitley of the Kannapolis Rotary Club said he hopes locals will welcome them to the city.
Whitley said he sees events like the Nutrithon as a means of building culture and improving Kannapolisí reputation.
ěThis is one of the building blocks of a cultural base,î Whitley said. ěHaving annual athletic events can help improve the quality of life.î
Neal Boyd of Charlotte Sports Cycling, whose company is operating the races, said drivers need to be on the lookout for runners and cyclists.
ěThe most important thing is to pay attention,î Boyd said.
Runners will be using streets on and around the Research Campus from 7:45 to 11 a.m.
Between 7:45 and 9 a.m. runners will also be racing on Ridge Avenue and South Main Street between Dale Earnhardt Boulevard and Lane Street.
Motorists should also try to avoid Mooresville Road (N.C. 3) between Dale Earnhardt Boulevard and Kannapolis Parkway, as well as West C Street, between 9 and 11 a.m. when cyclists will be racing.
None of those roads will close for the event.
Only streets that run through the Research Campus itself will be blocked.
Boyd said that Kannapolis Police officers and Cabarrus County Sheriffís deputies will be patrolling the routes and providing support for racers.
Volunteers in colorful T-shirts will be stationed along the route, and signs will indicate roads that racers are using.
Boyd said he hopes motorists will be courteous as well as careful.
ěWe want to leave these people with a good impression of Kannapolis,î Boyd said.
All of the events should be completed before noon.
Whitley said more than $46,000 had been raised or pledged for the race so far.
Proceeds will go toward the Kannapolis Rotary Clubís effort to build a dormitory for visiting students and researchers.
Phyllis Beaver of the N.C. Research Campus said many of the students and interns come to Kannapolis without cars.
ěMany of them have only a bicycle for transportation,î Beaver said. ěThey need to be in close proximity.î
Often, these students are working on advanced degrees and are already paying rent in another city.
Whitley said that, after the Nutrithon was announced earlier this year, some questioned why students didnít just stay in hotels.
ěThese are students, and they come here strapped for cash,î Whitley said.
Once enough money is raised to help construct a dormitory next to the Research Campus, those students will start shopping and dining in Kannapolis.
Whitley said Saturdayís race is the first step toward that future.
ěI think everybodyís been very receptive,î he said. ěWeíre looking forward to a great race.î
For more information on the events Saturday, log on to www.nutrithon.com
Contact Hugh Fisher via the editorís desk at 704-797-4244.