Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series kicks off

The 23rd annual Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series will feature a new award for the athletes with the fastest times in the swim, bike and run segments of the race.

Even though we’re still in the spring season, one of the summer traditions of the Lowcountry’s endurance sports community kicks off this weekend.

The 23rd annual Charleston Sprint Triathlon Series commences Sunday with the first of five races at James Island County Park and features two new twists, so to speak.

The first will be free yoga taught by Holy Cow Yoga instructor Erin Levesque 5:45-6:45 p.m. on the Saturday before each triathlon at the park’s “lake” during packet pickup. The yoga is open to anyone, not just participants.

“We wanted to incorporate another type of exercise into our triathlon experience,” said series director Paul King. “I found that yoga poses mirror many stretches that endurance athletes use but in a more flowing movement.”

The second addition to the series this year will be “prime awards” for the fastest times in each leg of the triathlon (swim, bike, run), said King.

Other dates for the triathlons are June 16, July 7 and 28 and the championship race Aug. 11.

Races begin at 7:15 a.m. with a 600-yard freshwater swim in the lake at James Island County Park, continue with a 12-mile bike ride through the park and out and back on Riverland Drive, and finish with a flat 5K run. Each race is limited to 400 participants, and fees start at $55 per race.

Also Sunday is the fifth annual Kayak for the Kure for MS, starting from Nature Adventures Kayak, Canoe and Paddleboard Outfitters on Shem Creek in Mount Pleasant.

The event involves two-hour paddling trips departing at 9:30 a.m., noon and 2:30 p.m. Donations start at $35.

Kathie Livingston, owner of Nature Adventures, said that local resident Jed Elmaleh, who has advanced multiple sclerosis, has been and continues to be the main inspiration for the event.

“With adaptive and creative paddling techniques, Jed still inspires us as he continues to kayak,” said Livingston, adding that the event has raised more than $12,000 in the past four years.

Livingston said the goal this year is to raise $5,000.

Nature Adventures Outfitters has donated 100 percent of the proceeds to the National MS Society-Greater Carolinas Chapter and the Tisch MS Research Center in the effort to help find a “Kure” for the disease and for facilities that help MS patients.

“This year, we’ll include stand-up paddleboarding tours as well as kayaks,” said Livingston, adding that children ages 4 and up are welcome.

The event also will feature a silent auction with prizes including whitewater rafting, kayaking trips, eco-tour boat excursions, gift baskets and more.

On Saturday, the Run for Change 5K run and walk will be at 8 a.m. at the Christian drug and alcohol rehabilitation center in Moncks Corner.

The fee is $25 for participants older than 18 and $15 for those 18 and younger.

All proceeds will go toward The Changed Lives Ministry, which is a Christian rehabilitation center dedicated to those who are struggling with addictions but desire “a change.”

Packet pickup is 4-8 p.m. Friday at Santee Circle Community Church or 6-7:15 a.m. on race morning.

The second of two surfboard demonstrations in May by Ocean Surf Shop will be 1-6 p.m. Friday at The Washout on Folly Beach when Wavejet comes into town.

“They say the company will bring team riders,” said Ocean Surf Shop’s Bates Hagood, adding that big waver record-holder Garrett McNamara and pro surfer Cory Lopez may attend.

The annual Hands Across the Sand, a demonstration for clean energy and against offshore drilling, will be 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday on the beach next to the Folly Pier.

May is National Bike Month, and this week’s National Bike to Work Week culminates with the national Bike to Work Day on Friday.

Charleston Moves will hold events for bike commuters 7-7:30 a.m. Friday at two locations: behind Earth Fare and at Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park.

The event at Earth Fare will include a short rally, refreshments, bike raffle ticket and a police-escorted ride over the Ashley River bridge to the Medical University of South Carolina’s Clyburn Center. In Mount Pleasant, the event will include a rally, refreshments and a raffle, also ending at the Clyburn Center.

On Sunday, Charleston Moves also plans rides along the Battery2Beach route, but details were not available.