SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Saturday marked the first “Eppie’s Great Race” since the passing of founder and creator Eppie Johnson.

“It’s a little bit sad, but at the same time it’s exciting because we are keeping it going,” said George Johnson, Eppie’s son.

It’s what he wanted more than anything – anyone who knew Eppie knew he loved Eppie’s Great Race.

“He was really the personality behind this race and he lived and breathed this race,” George said.

Just ask granddaughter Athena Johnson.

“He [was] always a fun outgoing person, so I think he would say, ‘Let’s all start this race and have a good time,’” Athena said.

About 1,600 athletes competed in the 41st annual world’s oldest triathlon, this time in honor of the Eppie.

“This is Eppie Johnson on the river today, he created this,” said Assemblyman Ken Cooley.

Eppie was an inspiration to many, including Cathy Moy.

“I met him out here in my first year and I had never kayaked until this event,” Moy said.

Now her third race, the Iron Woman athlete says she has Eppie to thank for her newfound passion.

“I think he would be thrilled,” Moy said.

Family members say keeping the race going is the ultimate tribute to the man who will always be remembered among the triathlete community.

“I think he would be excited it’s just going on,” George said.


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