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Triathlon series kicks off 29th season at 5 a.m. today at Shadow Cliffs

Entry fee for the Tri For Fun is $75 (non-timed) and $80 (chip timed) in advance, $10 added for race-day registrants

Hundreds of experienced and novice triathletes are set to converge at Shadow Cliffs Saturday for the first Tri-for-Fun triathlon event of the season with check-in and registration starting at 5 a.m. Saturday and the first wave hitting the water at 7 a.m.

Entry fee for the Tri For Fun is $75 (non-timed) and $80 (chip timed) in advance, $10 will be added to race-day registrants.

The course, designed as shorter than traditional triathlons to encourage athletes of all levels to participate, features a 400-yard swim, 11-mile bicycle ride on a flat, looped route and a 3.1-mile run along a fire trail.

"We have made so many wonderful friends through the years because of the Tri-for-Fun," said Mark Aiton, co-principal of On Your Mark Events, which organizes the event.

"There are now literally thousands of people who cut their triathlon teeth with the Tri-for-Fun, and they keep coming back, as well as take part with our other longer-distance triathlons throughout the year," Aiton added.

The Tri-for-Fun series, now in its 29th season, includes three non-competitive triathlons on a shorter course followed by the competitive Tri For Real full-length triathlon at the end of the summer at Shadow Cliffs.

The non-competitive events draw participants of all skill levels, and it's not unusual to see an 8-year-old swimming, biking or running alongside an 80-year-old, according to organizers.

About 60% of the athletes throughout the season will be beginner triathletes, but experienced triathletes also take part for training reasons, organizers said. Seasoned participants are released in the first wave of the Tri-for-Funs so they can get ahead of less-experienced triathletes.

The series features Tri-for-Fun triathlons Saturday, July 16 and Aug. 20, and the full-length Tri For Real triathlon is set for Sept. 18. All four events take place at Shadow Cliffs off Stanley Bloulevard in Pleasanton.

The Tri-for-Fun events are non-timed and non-competitive, but triathletes can opt to be officially time-chipped or they can check the clock at the finish line to gauge their personal time.

On Your Mark Events will crown a Series Champion (must be timed for all four events). The top male and female entrants will be announced and awarded at the Tri For Real in September.

Participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt, refreshments and snacks, and entry into the event raffle.

Preregistered entry for relay teams is $210 (non-timed) and $215 (chip timed), $10 will be added to race-day registrants. For September's Tri For Real, all participants are chip timed ($85 advance, and $95 day-of). Preregistered entry for relay teams is $210, $240 race-day.

For more information, call 209-795-7832 or visit www.onyourmarkevents.com.

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