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South Salem Church Biathlon Attracting More Athletes

SOUTH SALEM, N.Y. – Besides being a fund-raiser to aid the church in its charitable endeavors, the South Salem Church Tavern Biathlon was conceived last year as a way to expand the St. John’s Episcopal Church’s presence in the community.

It seems to be working.

Last year, the race attracted 73 participants. This year, race organizer Brian Stempel said registration is on track to easily surpass that number.

“It’s tracking that way,” he said. “We are at around the mid-60s right now. At this point last year, we had about 40 signed up. But we get a lot coming [to sign up] on the day of the event.”

The day of the event is Labor Day with a start time of 9:30 a.m. The race, which starts at the church at 82 Spring St. in South Salem, consists of a 6.5-mile bike route and a 4-mile run. It can be done individually or as a two-person relay. Participants can even walk the course if they wish.

Last year, the event raised $1,500, which was donated to The Carpenter’s Kids Program, the Community Center of Northern Westchester and The Wounded Warrior Project. This year, Stempel created a pre-event fundraising page, which already has garnered $1,700 in donations.

“We also have sponsors, which is something we didn’t have last year,” Stempel said.

In conjunction with the race, the church also is overseeing a food drive for the Community Center for Northern Westchester. Race participants are encouraged to bring donations. Stempel said any dry or canned goods are fine but back-to-school items are needed the most, such as hot and cold breakfast cereals, dry milk, juice boxes, peanut butter and jelly, soup, macaroni and cheese and canned fruit.

In addition, the church will have a bake sale at the race. There also will be a free barbecue and live music from Quadrasuarus with special guest Zena Von Heppinstall, the former lead singer of Mercy Seat.

Stempel said there will be last-chance training session Saturday morning.

“We've been holding them throughout the summer as an opportunity to check out the course,” he said. “We will have the last one on Saturday morning at eight o’clock starting at the church.”

Tankards, which symbolize the church’s history as a tavern in the 18th century, are awarded to the top three finishers, the first female finisher and the first relay team finishers. Stempel said this year’s race will include even more award-winning categories.

There still is time to register for the race. Online registration is open until Saturday at http://www.raceit.com/search/event.aspx?id=12328 . Same-day registration is available, but it is $5 more.

To view map of the bike course for the race, go to http://stempel.zenfolio.com/churchtavernbi2011/e2567a883 . For a run-course map, click on http://stempel.zenfolio.com/churchtavernbi2011/e2b84dbba .

For more information, call Stempel at 914-906-5912.

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