Smile Train Coming To Heritage Wake Forest

The 9th annual Rho Smile Train Tri is fast-approaching. This year’s event will take place on Sunday, June 26th. The event takes place in Heritage Wake Forest with the bike portion weaving through the surrounding area. This USA Triathlon (USAT) sanctioned race is comprised of a 250- meter pool swim, 12 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. Early registration is recommended because this race typically sells out. I am really excited that I will be out there on race day competing in my first sprit tri.

Taking part in this triathlon is a bucket-list item for me. My husband has already checked this one off his list. He competed in the event in 2010. He knew it was something I wanted to do but that I probably wouldn’t pull the trigger, so he registered us as part of my Christmas present. We are registered so there is no turning back now! I am an avid runner and have taken cycle classes at the YMCA but swimming will be the ultimate challenge for me. I have started training for the run and bike portion, but have yet to get in the pool. That starts this weekend!

The race focuses on creating a welcoming environment for new triathletes while providing a fast bike course with a few challenges for experienced triathletes. I hope those challenges aren’t too tough! The swim takes place in the Heritage Swim Club lap pool. The transition area will be in the larger parking lot close to the pool entry. The bike course will present some nice flats and a few small climbs. To finish the race, athletes will run a 5k (3.1 mile) through the neighborhoods of Heritage Wake Forest. The race will finish up near the transition area by the Heritage Wake Forest pool.

In preparation for the race, there are a few pre-race events to help everyone get ready. There was a pre-race ride and Q & A session on June 4th at 8 am at Smith Creek Park. Rebecca Warriner (Race Director) was on hand to answer questions about layout, setup, timing, course, transition, what to wear and even what not to wear. Race packet pickup with be on June 25th from 1 pm – 4pm at Run-N-Tri Outfitters in Wake Forest. That same evening from 6 pm – 7 pm there will be another Q & A session also at Run-N-Tri Outfitters.

If competing in the race is not your thing, there is a need for volunteers to make it go smoothly. To sign-up to volunteer, please go to . There are multiple positions such as early morning set-up, handling packet pick-up, giving out timing chips and finish line support to name a few! One of the best volunteer options would be just coming out to cheer on the athletes, as this race is just as much a mental competition as it is physical one for the racers. It would be awesome to see lots of family, friends and neighbors on hand to encourage the 400 participants expected to race!

The Rho Smile Train Tri has generated over $100 thousand dollars in donations for the Smile Train organization which is the world’s largest cleft lip and palate charity. It was also the first triathlon in the world to benefit Smile Train. The race was started by Rebecca Warriner who continues as the race director to this day. Race organizers send 100% of the registration fees to Smile Train which provides free cleft lip and cleft palate repair for children in under developed countries. It takes about $250 to provide this type of surgery for a child. This year’s title sponsor is Rho, a Clinical Research Organization, located in Chapel Hill. The huge financial support of the various sponsors permits them to donate all of the registration fees. Interesting side note, Rho’s CEO has competed in the event every year since 2010. He will be out there again on June 26th! To register for the event, go to

My husband and I are excited to be competing and contributing to Smile Train. Our goal is simply to cross the finish line. Word is that Fuzzy’s EmpanadasCaffe BellezzaKona-Ice will be on-site for all to enjoy. In addition, a bounce house and free face painting will be there for the kids! The awards ceremony begins promptly after the last person crosses the finish line which according to the race director is around 11:20 am. Awards are given to the top 3 men and top 3 women overall as well as the top 3 in each age group/division. Come on out and be a part of this huge charitable event in Heritage Wake Forest. If you are on the fence about registering, go for it and start training today! If competing isn’t your thing, the racers would love to hear your cheers of encouragement on June 26th!

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