IT'S still not too late to take up the challenge of the Stockton Triathlon, even for absolute beginners.
So far, around 350 triathletes of all standards have entered the event, which takes place on Sunday 22 August as part of Stockton Council's nine-day Take to the Tees festival (22-30 August).
Entries are already up nearly a third on the 2009 event, with more than 70 in the new 'Mini' triathlon, specially designed to encourage beginners to try out the sport for the first time.
Beginning with a 260 metre pool swim at Splash, a 13km cycle race and 3km run follow.
The more demanding Sprint Triathlon has a 750m swim in the River Tees, a 24km cycle ride on a traffic-free circuit and 5km run.
At least 120 triathletes will chase the £500 prizes for the first man and woman over the 'Standard' distance - a 1,500 metre river swim, 40km cycle ride and 10km run along Stockton's riverside.
"We've had a tremendous response for the triathlon and entries are increasing every day," said Councillor Ken Lupton, Leader of Stockton Borough Council.
"And with more than 600 people already registered to attempt the River Rat Race a week later, the Take to the Tees sporting events are proving a huge success.
"Take to the Tees will also include plenty of other low-cost or free activities for people to try out over the nine days and I hope people will have a go at something new."
Stokesley-based event promoters TriHard are staging the triathlon with Stockton Council. For triathlon information and entry rates, visit www.trihard.co.uk or call 0845 394 3915.
To find out about other Take to the Tees events, including the Stockton Summer Show at the Tees Barrage (August 28-30) visit www.stockton.gov.uk.
Motorists are advised that roads will close on 22 August for the Triathlon around Stockton's Riverside, the Princess of Wales Bridge and the one-way system around Church Road from 8am-4pm (5pm for Riverside).
Princeton Drive, University Boulevard and Harvard Avenue, Teesdale, will close from 12.30-4pm.