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TriCities Stand Up Paddleboard Company sponsors Appalachian Challenge as part of the Ninth Annual Watauga Lake Triathalon Event!

August 12, 2013

Our local downtown TriCities Stand Up Paddleboard Company (also known as TriSUP) is sponsoring the Appalachian Challenge as part of the Watauga Lake Triathalon! The Ninth Annual Watauga Lake Triathlon will be held in Butler, TN, on Saturday, August 17, beginning at 8 a.m. The USA Triathlon-sanctioned event includes a 1000-meter swim, a 35-kilometer bike ride, and a 8-kilometer run. This year's event includes a new separate event, the Appalachian Challenge Stand Up Paddleboard Race, to be held after the triathlon swimmers have completed their portion of the race. There will be prizes and awards for all participants and a BBQ lunch. The event is also open to spectators. Participants can preregister for either the Triathlon or SUP race online through Active.com until Thursday, August 15. Visit the website www.wataugalaketriathlon.com for more information.

It was about a decade ago when Scott Vandiver and some friends thought it would be fun to create a local triathlon competition to be held in the beautiful setting of Watauga Lake. Vandiver, a native of Johnson City, TN, lives and works in Boone, NC. An anesthesiologist with Watauga Anesthesia Associates, Vandiver and his buddy Chuck Dumke, a faculty member in the Health, Leisure and Exercise Science department at Appalachian State University, developed a course that would highlight their favorite bike ride in the area.

The organizers are proud of their event, and Vandiver notes the race was given an honorable mention in Triathlon Magazine for one of the best small triathlons. It takes about 40 volunteers to put on a triathlon of this caliber and each year the event has donated its profits to local charities. This year they will once again give a donation to The Cancer Resource Alliance, an outreach arm of Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center, which empowers cancer survivors and their loved ones to be active partners in their healing journey through education and support. They also give a donation to the Sugar Grove Baptist Church which is the site of the race in Butler and has been very supportive.

New this year is a World Paddle Association Stand Up Paddleboard points race, the Appalachian Challenge. Expected to draw competitors from all over the US, the Appalachian Challenge was inspired by Marc Nachman of Kingsport, TN. Commonly known as SUPs, Nachman opened TriSUP, the area's only dedicated SUP store, in April of this year in Bristol, TN. The store sells boards, provides rentals and lessons. Interested in providing local athletes a chance to compete in a WPA-sanctioned event, Nachman teamed up with his old school friend Vandiver, who thought the new event would work well with the established Watauga Lake Triathlon.

The Appalachian Challenge features a long course race of 5.4 miles, a short course race of 2.2 miles, and a fun kid's race for children under 12.