By Audrey Spencer

The Cove Herald

In early March, the Tough Cookie Duathlon returns to Copperas Cove's South Park to offer women a chance to taste multi-sport competitions.

The female-only and beginner-friendly race may be run by a single person or a relay team. The circuit consists of a 1.5 mile run on a flat course, a 10-mile bicycle course across rolling hills and another 1.5 mile run, according

"The run is really flat. It's a very easy run and short distance," said Tzatzil LeMair, race director. "The most difficult part is probably the 10-mile bike course because of the hills, but it's very beginner-friendly. To a lot of people interested in triathlons, this is a good way to test the water and try a multi-sport event."

The event also includes a Kid's Fun Run. The course is a half-kilometer for children ages 5 and younger, and a full kilometer for children older than 5.

The influx of about 50 racers and their support systems offer a boost to the local economy, said Betty Price, president of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce, whose organization helps organize the duathlon.

"Any time you have a tourism event, and you're bringing in people who are not from our town, they are dependent on the services in our community," said Price. "People will shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, stop and get gas. They utilize the sources we have available."

With registration, participants will receive goodie bags, a T-shirt and a massage, according to the Tough Cookie website, All who complete the race will receive finisher medals.

All profits from the event will benefit the Multiple Sclerosis National Society Lone Star Chapter. "We've donated over $100,000 since we started the event," said LeMair.

Since the event is USA Triathlon sanctioned, racers must provide proof of membership to participate. Day-memberships are available for $10 at packet-pickup, but racers must pre-register for the event.

All racers need to wear running shoes and helmet and have a working bicycle. "They absolutely need a helmet," said LeMair. "They won't be allowed to race without one."

While about 80 percent of race participants are first-timers, LeMair said participants will walk away with a sense of accomplishment.

"You realize, 'if I was able to do that, what else can I do,'" she said. "Any woman who is ready to do something to get fitter and wants to try something new should come out and give multi-sport a try."

Contact Audrey Spencer at or (254) 501-7476.

If you go

What: The Tough Cookie Duathlon for women

When: 9 a.m. on March 4

Where: South Park in Copperas Cove, off FM 3046, near Martin Walker School (from Highway 190 West, turn left onto 116 South)

More: Kid's Fun Run starts at 11 a.m.

Other Information: Pre-register at before Feb. 26 for $50 per person, $80 for a two-person team or $100 for a three-person team. Kid's Fun Run is $10. After Feb. 26, duathlon entry fees will increase.

Last-minute registration packets are available for pick-up as late as the night before the race at the Copperas Cove Best Western, at 321 Constitution Drive.

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