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Westport Club Hosts Half Ironman In Norwalk Sunday

NORWALK, Conn. – The Westport-based Team Mossman Triathlon Club holds triathlons for kids and Sprint and Olympic distances as part of its competitive stable. On Sunday, the club goes even further with the addition of the Mighty Moss Half Iron Triathlon beginning at 6:30 a.m. at Norwalk’s Calf Pasture Beach.

The race consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. Race director Clayton Tebbetts said only one other event in Connecticut goes the same distances. Despite limited exposure, Tebbetts expects nearly 200 contestants.

“We wanted to build our series,’’ Tebbetts said. “We put on kids' races, we have a sprint distance in Norwalk and an Olympic distance in Bridgeport. We’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”

After the swim in Long Island Sound, the triathletes transition to the bike route, which winds into Wilton and Weston before returning to the park. The running route is two-loop route that extends into East Norwalk. The Mossman team worked closely with local officials and police to ensure safe routes for both the bike and the run, Tebbetts said.

“Coming up with a safe course that we all felt comfortable with was one of our biggest challenges,’’ Tebbetts said. “It’s a densely populated area. We have a four-hour cutoff on the bike and eight hours for the course. We’re not going to have the roads closed the whole day.”

Sunday’s race also conflicts with the KIC It Triathlo n in Stamford. Tebbetts said tides played a large part in determining the date of the Ironman race.

“We carefully monitor these things,’’ Tebbetts said. “We have to do it at high tide, and they come every two weeks. We want to have the best experience we can for the athletes.”

Tebbetts also believes the Ironman won’t lure athletes from the Stamford field, because the races are vastly different. “The Ironman is a whole different animal,’’ he said.

The race is the first of the Mossman series for 2012. Calf Pasture Beach also will be the site of a kids' triathlon July 14, and a sprint triathlon begins at Calf Pasture at 6:30 a.m. July 15. The Park City Mossman Triathlon will be Aug. 26 at Seaside Park in Bridgeport. Visit the Team Mossman website for information and registration details.

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