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Give These Races a Tri

No matter what distance you choose, you'll never forget your first tri! (Photo courtesy Kevin Steele)

Written by Alyssa Shaffer

Has our 10-week triathlon training guide in our May issue got you itching to sign up for a race? We don't blame you! Whether it’s near your own backyard or across the country, these beginner-friendly sprint races will transform you into a true triathlete.

If you want... An urban experienceTriRock Philadelphia: Swim, bike and run in the City of Brotherly Love, starting with a dip in the Schuylkill River and finishing with a ride and run through scenic Fairmount Park. There’s also an Olympic-distance race the next day. (June 22, • Life Time Tri Chicago: One of the largest tris in the world begins with a swim in Lake Michigan then follows Lake Shore Drive past such scenic landmarks as Buckingham Fountain and the Shedd Aquarium. There’s also a super sprint distance and an Olympic course if you want to go shorter or longer. (August 25,

Something scenicMini-Mussel Sprint Triathlon: Spend the weekend in upstate New York’s popular Finger Lakes region. The 10th annual race includes a swim in a canal, a bike ride along vineyard-dotted roads, and a fast, flat run through a lakefront park. For hearty types, there’s also a half Ironman the next day. (July 13, • Coeur d’Alene Triathlon: The new Scenic Sprint in Idaho lives up to its name as one of the most picturesque courses in the Pacific Northwest, with a placid lake swim, a winding bike course and a triumphant finish inside Coeur d’Alene City Park. (August 10, • Nautica Malibu Triathlon: Race alongside celebs (last year’s finishers included Claire Holt, Jillian Michaels and Alison Sweeney) on a course that’s a little longer than your usual sprint—a half-mile ocean swim, an 18-mile bike ride and a four-mile run—with amazing views of both the mountains and the Pacific along the way. (September 8,

To celebrate girl powerAthleta Iron Girl: With a shorter-than-usual swim leg (in some cases, just one-third of a mile) and lots of festivities before, during and after, this series of women-only sprint tris are for newbies of all abilities. Eighteen races take place nationwide, from April through September. (Dates vary;

More from FITNESS: Sign Up for a Triathlon in Your Area