My First Triathlon with Bart Yasso



Bart Yasso is an icon in the running and endurance world. Yasso is the Chief Running Officer for Runner’s World, and has an awesome passion for adventure. Yasso has completed races on all seven continents, completed the Badwater 146 through Death Valley, completed Ironman five times, and rode across the USA twice unsupported.

Yasso is fantastic writer as well, I highly recommend his book, My Life on the run.

Below Bart generously shares experiences from his first triathlon. He has gone on to race and win many more triathlons, but just like everyone else, you start with your first race.


What was your first race? Location, Name, Year, Distance

My first tri was the Emmaus Triathlon, Eastern Pennsylvania in 1984, 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. One of the first half marathon distance races in the country.

What motivated you to try your first Triathlon?

The triathlon craze was taking off and I wanted to be part of it.

What was your athletic background?

I was a runner for many years so I just needed to add a few swims per week and some weekend bike rides to my training.

What was your biggest concern when starting out? How did you overcome it?

My only concern was my right shoulder during the swim. My right shoulder pops out of joint on occasion. It would not be fun if it happened during the swim. I was careful in the swim I stayed away from the mass start.

Were there any difficult/funny moments in that first race?

No I had a great race I finished 4th, When I see photos I laugh because most of us did all 3 disciplines in a Speedo.

What bike did you use? 

1984 Team Fuji
1984 Team Fuji

Team Fuji

Were you hooked after that first race?

Yes I was hooked right away.

What piece of advice you wish you had when you were starting out?

We didn’t have energy bars or gels back in 1984. I remember wishing I had some food on the bike. I was pretty darn hungry on that 13.1 mile run.

What was your feeling as you crossed the finish line?

I remember thinking I can win some of these races if I take this seriously. I won a bunch triathlons/biathlons back in the 80s. Overall and loved every minute of the race.

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