Our history as a race organization goes back to 2009, when Joe McMahon of Rochester, NY saw the need for a more affordable race experience for those who were passionate about the sport of triathlon. Joe had already completed dozens of Ironman races by then, and saw the increasing costs as a primary motivator in creating his own race. He coined the event 'Peasantman' and recruited a team to put the race into motion. He contacted the village of Penn Yan, and after receiving their emphatic support in being the host site for his concept, he launched the inaugural Peasantman Steel Distance Triathlon in 2013.
In 2022 we acquired the nearby Keuka Lake Triathlon from our friends at Score This!!!, and named our organization First Knight Racing. Now with two similar races only a couple miles and a couple months apart, we still make every decision with athlete satisfaction - and most of all safety - in mind. And we've always used a community-based approach, prioritizing local businesses, partners, and sponsors.
THE HISTORY OF OUR EVENT NAMES
The origins of the names 'Peasantman' and 'First Knight Racing' have an interesting history. On a July day in 2009, Joe proposed his new race idea to some triathlete friends while in Lake Placid. In explaining his reasoning for a more affordable event, he commented, "When the royalty gets out of hand, the peasants revolt." The room fell silent, and he exclaimed, "That's it! Peasantman!" Everyone approved.
Soon after, Joe vowed he would never ask the athletes to do an event he couldn't do himself, and in June of 2013 - two months before the inaugural Peasantman - he tested the course out and became the first finisher of the Peasantman Full Steel Distance race. This means he held the world record for two months (until race day when his record was shattered by everyone who finished the Full). But he did finish, and because Peasantman finishers get 'knighted' after they cross the finish line, Joe therefore became the 'First Knight.' And that's how First Knight Racing was born!
ABOUT OUR FOUNDER
Joe McMahon is an R.N. and a USA Triathlon certified Race Director and Official. He moved to the Rochester area at age 20 and began his triathlon career soon after. He's been actively organizing, directing, and participating in races ever since.
His athletic background includes over 500 races, including 38 full distance triathlons and counting (four of them Steel Distances), 75+ marathons, 17+ half distance triathlons, over 300 multi-sport events, 5k's, 10k's and half marathons. He's been a member of Rochester Area Triathletes (RATS) since 1991, and spent two years as their Vice President. RATS is the second oldest multisport club in the country. Right now Joe is unofficially the #2 athlete in New York State for most full distance triathlons completed, and is well respected in a number of statewide triathlon clubs.
Joe was Race Director for a Buffalo-based 5K charity race for four years. After that, he became Race Director for Daniel's 5K in Churchville, NY which raises money for cancer charities. The race has since been handed over to Daniel's parents, as Joe pursued the founding of Peasantman. To date, Joe has been a participant or leader of teams that have raised over $920,000 for assorted charities.
Outside of racing, Joe is the owner of a successful Rochester sign manufacturing company, E-lite Neon Signs, LLC, as well as First Knight Enterprise, an antiques and collectibles store specializing in coins and numismatics.
After a brief career in nursing, Joe's sign business experienced rapid growth. At the beginning of the pandemic, however, he saw the need to return to nursing in an acute care unit specifically for Covid at URMC, where he remains on staff per diem as an assistive RN.