Enka Triathlon at Biltmore Lake Will Fund Nonprofit

Swimmers participating in the Enka Triathlon at Biltmore Lake take off on a 750 meter swim in Biltmore Lake. This year’s event will be held on June 17 and includes the lake swim swim, 17.5 mile bicycle ride around the Biltmore Lake community, and a 3.1 mile run around the lake.

The Enka Triathlon at Biltmore Lake celebrates its tenth anniversary this year on Saturday, June 17. As in the past, a nonprofit organization has volunteered to support the event.

As a ‘thank you,’ it receives a portion of the event proceeds.

This year, ARC of Haywood County will support the race. Volunteers from the organization previously helped out at the Lake Logan Triathlon held in August. Greg Duff, president of Glory Hound Events, the Enka Triathlon organizer, said the organization is familiar with the support role it will play.

“We started this program of inviting nonprofits about five years ago, and it has been a great way to staff our events while at the same time supporting the financial goals of local organization doing great work in our community,” Duff said.  “In addition to the financial benefits, participating in the events provides a way for the nonprofit to get in front of a new audience.”

For the past two years, the Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association (ABYSA) provided hands-on support at the event. Prior to that, the Asheville Lady Jaguars and Asheville GreenWorks each volunteered its services.

The ARC of Haywood County will commit 13 people to support the race from 5:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. on race day, June 17, and an additional 7 volunteers from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Volunteers work only the day of the event at this race, and they take on a variety of roles. Adults serve as marshals on the bike course, but younger volunteers help out as well, working with registration and offering drinks at the aid stations along the run route.

Some early Biltmore Lake residents, members of the original Asheville Triathlon Club (not the version currently operating) conceived the event several years ago. According to Duff, it was discontinued around 2006 because of safety and neighborhood concerns. Glory Hound Events convinced Biltmore Farms that it could manage the race in a professional manner and keep it going.  They got the green light in 2007.

In 2008, the bike and run routes were redesigned to minimize the impact on residents. “The event is handled very professionally,” said Karen Foley, lifestyle director at Biltmore Lake. “It starts so early, and by around noon, it is a cleaned up and over.” 

The event includes a 750-meter swim in the lake, 17.5-mile bike ride on the rolling hills of the Biltmore Lake community, and finishes with a 3.1 mile run around the lake. Participation has ranged between 240 and 300 athletes each year since Duff took over. Online registration is available through June 14 at gloryhoundevents.com.

“The first three years were dominated by Asheville area athletes, with Keven Lisska winning in 2008 and 2010, and Jay Curwen in 2009,” Duff said. Julia Tobias, Allison Hardy and Karen Masson all were winners from Asheville in the first three years.”

As the event gained popularity, winners have come from farther outside of western North Carolina, but Masson repeated as winner in 2012, and Curwen won again in 2015.

Local triathletes Marlene Clevenger, Jill Escher Trichon and Renee Campbell have participated in the event through the past few years. “It’s well organized and lot of fun,” Trichon said, “I loved the community feel.” Campbell added, “I have fond memories of a fun race, but it was hard for this gal, my first time, with no prep beforehand. It was much better the second time when I trained.”

Volunteer organization, ARC of Haywood County, provides residential services to individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families. More information is available at ARCofHaywoodCounty.org.

For more information on the Enka Triathlon at Biltmore Lake, contact Greg Duff, greg@gloryhoundevents.com.

By Mary Koppenheffer