Survival of the Shawangunks Triathlon Tests The Most Hardened Athletes

This September, athletes from all over will lace up their sneakers, and hop on their bikes for this eight-stage triathlon that’s equally grueling and beautiful.

On Sept. 10, athletes in top form will lace up their sneakers, hop on their bikes, and set off on the Survival of the Shawangunks (SOS), an eight-stage triathlon that takes participants on a course that’s equally grueling and beautiful.

The SOS raises funds for Mohonk Preserve’s Environmental Education for underserved youth; regular registration is closed, but racers can still apply for entry via 20 “charity” spots, each available for a minimum $1,000 donation to the fund (in addition to the $500 race fee). Charity entries are accepted until Sept. 4, or when the spots run out — whichever comes first.


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Roughly 150 triathletes accept the challenge each year. First-time entrants must have a well-completed half- or full Ironman under their belts within 18 months of race day. The race is also a logistics challenge, since entrants are allowed assistance at the end of the bicycle portion (to remove the bikes), but, except for food and aid stations, they are otherwise are on their own. Creativity abounds, from participants pulling their sneakers on tiny rafts behind them in the water to tucking their wet items into their shorts during their runs.

There are eight segments to the race, and each one has something in it that’s unique,” says founder Don Davis, a self-described “triathlete before there was a triathlon” who was living in New Paltz in 1983 and decided that the ’Gunks “seemed like a natural place to train,” he said. “We get people from all over the country complimenting us. But I can’t take credit for it — the third glacial period put it there.

For information on the triathlon, visit  For more with Davis, check out our September issue.

To apply for a charity spot, which also earns you a Mohonk Preserve membership (with all privileges of hiking, biking, and climbing), a lanyard, the 2017 Mohonk Preserve calendar, and special invitations to Preserve events, contact Andy Reynolds at the Mohonk Preserve by calling 845.255.0919, ext.1269, or email him at

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