This weekend the Cape Fear region welcomes more than two thousand athletes from across the country for the sixth annual Beach2Battleship Triathlon. And these iron and half-iron endeavors aren’t exactly everyday athletic events. Their sponsor, PPD—a Wilmington-based pharmaceutical research organization—is honoring seven special participants. These athletes, considered PPD Heroes, have each overcome grave illness, and are racing to raise public awareness about the importance of clinical trials for the development of medical treatments.
Hero Emily Schaller, one such speaker, has been running and biking since 2007 and living with cystic fibrosis since she was 18 months old. She is also the founder and CEO of the Rock CF Foundation, a Detroit-based nonprofit that raises research funds and awareness of the disease. Schaller says that because there are few FDA-approved options for the country’s 30,000 cystic fibrosis patients, she’s an active proponent of clinical trials.
"Any chance that I can help move a drug forward to market, I take that chance. And one drug in particular—I was under clinical trial, phase two and phase three—the drug was actually approved last year, and it’s a drug that has totally given me kind of a new lease on life, and made running and cycling much easier, which gives me the challenge to run farther and bike further, too."
Schaller and her peers will be racing in special hero shirts. Proceeds from the PPD Beach 2Battleship Triathlon are benefiting the Wilmington Family YMCA.
**Be prepared for triathlon-related traffic closures and event changes.
The following areas will be affected by more than 2,250 athletes expected to participate in the event:
- In downtown Wilmington, Water Street from Grace to Dock Street–the site of the triathlon finish line–will be closed from noon Friday, Oct. 25, through 2 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 27. The Riverfront Farmers' Market will temporarily relocate to the 00 - 200 blocks of S. Front St. for one day only.
- The intersection of Market Street (U.S. 17) and Porters Neck Road just south of the I-140 interchange is expected to have delays from 7:30 to 10 a.m. for northbound traffic on Market Street at Porters Neck Road. Motorists are also advised to expect delays for Porters Neck Road traffic accessing Market Street.
- The Isabel Holmes Bridge and U.S. 421 will experience race traffic from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday. Motorists are advised to use the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge when traveling between Wilmington and Brunswick County.