By Jeff Nations
STRASBURG -- Runners, cyclists and cross-fit enthusiasts can mark the Strasburg Duathlon off their calendars, at least for this year.
The annual event, which completed its third year last April, won't be held this year. Shenandoah County Parks and Recreation Department Director Pam Sheets, whose department took the lead role in partnership with the town of Strasburg in organizing and running the event, cited staffing issues at the SCPRD as the reason for not holding a duathlon this year.
The Strasburg Duathlon, a combined running and cycling event, consisted last year of a 5-kilometer run, followed by a 33-kilometer bicycle section before competitors wrapped up the race with another 5K run. Much of the event took place within Strasburg town limits, and stretched into the county for part of the cycling portion of the race.
The event may come back in its current form or in another as soon as next year, according to Sheets, who said the SCPRD will consult with town officials to reassess whether or not to resume the event for 2015.
Strasburg Mayor Tim Taylor said the decision to not host the annual race came down to concerns over whether organizers could maintain the quality of previous events with the current staffing limitations.
"We really didn't think that we could put on a quality event here like we had in the past," Taylor said. "We haven't abandoned it, we've just put it on hiatus."
Taylor said a change in format -- from a duathlon to a triathlon -- is something that could be considered if the event is brought back in the future.
Taylor said he received plenty of positive feedback about the Strasburg Duathlon, which was a draw to competitors not just locally but also from the metro Washington, D.C. area as well as out-of-state entrants.
The duathlon generated a strong level of interest from within and outside the community, said Taylor, who called it "a good draw for people to our town and good for the community."
"We had at least as many [entrants] last year as we did the previous year," Taylor said. "The feedback we got back from it was positive."
Contact Sports Editor Jeff Nations at 540-465-5137 ext. 161, or firstname.lastname@example.org>