The Delaware Triathlon marks 30 years on Saturday, Aug. 7.

The Delaware Triathlon marks 30 years on Saturday, Aug. 7.

About 80 men and women are expected to compete in six age groups during the event, which is sponsored by the city department of parks and recreation.

Retired Ohio Wesleyan University professor Dave Staley, one of the triathlon's founding organizers, will compete Saturday. Staley worked with former parks and recreation director Jim Garges and residents Jack Florance and Bob Walker to launch the event in 1980.

Participants swim 500 meters, bike eight miles and run three miles.

"At Ohio Wesleyan, at noon we'd swim there during the lunch hour, the city manager Bob Walker and I, and director of recreation Jim Garges, and a longtime swimmer Jack Florance - the pool has been named after him, he died a few years ago," Staley said. "We were swimming at noon and Garges said we ought to have a triathlon. We said a what? And he said, "Not an Iron Man, just a little swim and bike and run."

Delaware city manager Tom Homan has been a regular at the event.

"I've done it fairly regularly since I became city manager," Homan said. "There have been a few years I haven't been able to do it, but I've always enjoyed it."

Homan said the event was one of the first of its kind.

"It's one of the longest running triathlons in the country, and certainly Ohio," Homan said. "Triathlons are so common today, but 30 years ago we just didn't have much of that happening. I think it's the element of cross training that recreational runners like myself have come to enjoy."

Staley, 80, said the triathlon has grown but is still manageable.

"Our event is a little lower key and the entry fee is not as high," Staley said. "It's more for recreational triathletes rather than the more competitive triathletes. That's what makes it fun. It has not lost its original purpose, to encourage this training for folks who are not elite but want to do all three of these things. You can be a recreational athlete and not be intimidated by the kind of athletes that are traveling around the country and competing full time at these events."

Staley said fitness among the public is both better and worse than it was a few decades ago.

"We seem to have a bimodal population, those who are in very good shape and do very well, and those who are overweight and in terrible shape," Staley said. "Those who are active are more so than a few years ago, but then there are those who are doing nothing. Triathletes are not obese."

Staley has competed in World Championship triathlons also, winning first in his age group in 1990 in Orlando, Fla., and participating in the 2000 event in Australia.

Jeremy Byers, parks and recreation program coordinator, said the course will be open, with traffic continuing to use the roads. The city police will be on hand to help direct traffic.

When 7:30 a.m.

Day: Aug. 7, Saturday

Where: Mingo Park Pool, 500 E. Lincoln Ave.

What: Delaware Triathlon

Entry fee is $45 for residents and $55 for non-residents. For more information, phone (740) 203-1450.