Rocketman Triathlon

August 14, 2012

Mitch Varnes/ 321-759-7200







KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLA. -- History will once again be made at NASA's manned launch facility on May 5, 2013, when the space agency opens its gates to triathletes competing in the bicycling leg of the Inaugural Rocketman Triathlon at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. 


The multi-race event will include three separate distances - Classic, International and Half -- and marks the first time in history that Kennedy Space Center's secured gates have been opened for a privately coordinated public sporting event. 


Athlete participation in this event is expected to reach capacity,  and registration will open at 9 a.m. on September 1, 2012 through


"It's great to be part of a community event like this one," said Jon McBride, retired NASA Astronaut and current Astronaut Encounter Coordinator, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.  "Physical fitness is important to a well-rounded life, and we are proud to have the beauty of KSC and its adjacent Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge as a portion of this triathlon."


Cyclists will pass by and in direct view of  key space program elements including the Shuttle Landing Facility, Mate/Demate Device, the Shuttle Tow Way, the Orbiter Processing Facilities, the Crawler Transporter, the Mobile Launcher Platform, the Vehicle Assembly Building, the Launch Control Center, the Launch Complex-39 press site and its famous countdown clock and the Crawler Way.


The highlight of the bike ride takes cyclists down the same roadway used by space-bound astronauts and around the perimeter of Launch Pads 39-A and 39-B - the launching points for all of NASA's Space Shuttle and Apollo missions to the moon.


"What a great way to show off our natural resources in Titusville and the Space Coast," said Brevard County Commission Chairman Robin Fisher.  "I'd like to very much thank Kennedy Space Center Director Bob Cabana and his team for opening up the center to this special event and for allowing all the triathletes this tremendous opportunity."


The Rocketman Triathlon's start, finish and transition areas will be based in nearby Titusville at its riverside Space View Park.  The swim portion of the race will be held in the protected waters of the Indian River Lagoon, and the run course will be along Titusville's riverside and historic downtown areas.


"As the Gateway to Nature and Space, Titusville is the perfect site for this event, which will traverse the Kennedy Space Center, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Canaveral National Seashore and downtown Titusville," noted Titusville Mayor Jim Tulley.  "We are excited to have this in our community and look forward to it becoming an annual event."


The allure of such an iconic venue is sure to draw triathletes from around the United States and the world; basically enabling them to participate in a self-paced VIP tour of the center. 


"I cannot think of a more dynamic bike ride than this triathlon course through Kennedy Space Center," said Space Coast Office of Tourism Executive Director Rob Varley.  "This is going to be a great sporting event and one that is sure to be a positive economic impact for our community."


he Rocketman Triathlon is created and produced by Smooth Running, LLC, of Indialantic, Fl.  Smooth Running's Principal Mitch Varnes has orchestrated many of the Space Coast's biggest individual sporting events, including the Sebastian Inlet Pro surfing tournaments, several triathlons and running races and the Melbourne & Beaches Music Marathon Weekend - East Central Florida's premiere weekend-long distance running event.


"The Rocketman Tri has been years in the works, and I couldn't be more appreciative to NASA, Titusville, Delaware North Companies and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for allowing it to happen," said Varnes.  "It is an awesome course all the way around," he continued. "The attention will rightfully be focused on the ride through the space center, but I think the athletes will be every bit as impressed with their journey through the Canaveral National Seashore and Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.  There are lots of amazing race courses around the world, and I would stack this one up against any of them."


Detailed information on the Rocketman Triathlon and a course video are available through


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