Race Review: Dave Staley Aquathlon 2019

Met in the pool at an aquathlon

Last weekend, I raced in a very small and cute aquathlon (I struggled with pronunciation for a while, but apparently it’s “awkwathlon” and not “aqua-athlon”). This was a foray back into the world of multi-sport racing after 3 years since my last triathlon. I always seem to do multi-sport races after being injured, as they help me build more endurance without being too high-impact.

The Dave Staley Aquathlon and Youth Splash-n-Dash takes place annually in Delaware, Ohio. The more popular event, however, is their sprint triathlon (also with a youth counterpart), typically held in early July. I’ve done the sprint tri twice now and enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to the familiar stomping ground (the aquathlon and triathlon take place in the same park).

This aquathlon was comprised of a 400m swim and 5k run (3.1mi). It was just the right intensity and distance for me coming back from my ankle injury. Here’s what I thought about the event/

Not sure what I’m doing here…showing off my ankle timing band?


The race took place at Mingo Park in Delaware, where you can also find the Jack Florance Pool. The swimming portion took place in the pool. Since we were doing 400m in a 25m pool, it was 8 laps. During the triathlons I’ve done, they had us swim out and back in each lane, switching each time. Since there were only 12 participants total for the aquathlon, however, we all took our own lane or shared with someone else.

The run portion was on a paved loop surrounding the park. We had to do two out and back loops, which also differed from the triathlon course (which is a single loop through the surrounding neighborhood, and also through the park).

Dave Staley Aquathlon finish line


Packet pickup was the morning before the race, since it was a small event. I signed up the week before, so there were no more small t-shirts, and I had to get a medium–if you want your size, be sure to sign up earlier! The shirt was a soft cotton blend, and the medium actually fit me okay after a round in the dryer.

We also got a drawstring bag, swim cap, water bottle, and soft ice pack. At the finish, we got a microfiber towel, but no medal (I wasn’t expecting one since it was a smaller event, but to be noted so you’re not disappointed). Food-wise, there was water, bananas, and Welch’s fruit snacks (Easter-themed lol).

Dave Staley Aquathlon swag

My Performance

I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I was still regaining fitness after my injury. At my peak level of fitness, I might’ve aimed for 35 minutes (9:30 swim, 1 min transition, 24:30 run). I did a time trial the week before though, and finished the swim in 11 minutes, and the run in 28:46. So, I figured that sub 40 overall was more realistic.

According my Garmin, I finished the swim in 9:53 and the run in 26:05 (8:31/mi). On the site, however, it says my swim was 10:32, my transition 1:12, and my run 25:56 (exactly 37 minutes total). I’m not sure if the swim time was adjusted–I highly suspect that the pool was actually in yards, and that we should’ve done 9 laps for 400m. My transition time could’ve also been included in my official swim time. I think there must’ve been transition overlap in my run–I must’ve started my watch for the run while I was still in transition, accounting for the discrepancy.

In any case, I’m happy with the swim the pool was actually in meters. If it was it yards, I’ve done a better time for 400yd, but I also didn’t go on a run afterwards haha.

I’m pretty satisfied with the run, as I hadn’t done any speed work leading up to the race. My splits were 8:55, 8:44, and 8:03, so I was also happy with the negative splits. One thing that I really appreciated about this race, that has nothing to do with my times: my mom was able to be there, and actually drove me. My races are usually far away from home, so it was nice to have family support this time 🙂 (my mom actually took the first 3 photos!)

It’s funny to write a review for such a small, local race, but this is also a “fitness log” and “progress update” of sorts for me. If you’re local and looking for a small and cute race, I’d recommend the Dave Staley Aquathlon. If you have a sporty kid, all the better–there are shorter distances for kids following the adult race. The youth race seemed just as small, however, with about 10 competitors.

This year, registration fees were $35 (plus $3.80 processing fee), which felt expensive to me coming back from Europe, though it’s pretty typical for US events. The swag and fuel aren’t exceptional, but the staff was very friendly, and I figure that registration needs to be a little higher with so few competitors.

If you’re looking for another multi-sport event, I would definitely recommend the Dave Staley Triathlon in July. There are usually many more participants (80ish), though it remains a relatively small and fun race.

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