Student group prepares an on-campus triathlon

| Senior Sports Editor

Ready your bikes, get set in the pool and hit the pavement running because registration for the first on-campus triathlon is open.

The Washington University triathlon club has organized what it hopes will become a tradition for community members looking to spice up their exercise routines. The idea for an on-campus triathlon originated from senior Lauren Shuler, a co-organizer, who had seen a similar event done at her previous school, Oberlin College.

The inaugural triathlon is set for 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, March 28, in the Athletic Complex (AC) pool. “Our main goal is to get as many people in the Wash. U. community involved as possible, get people out exercising and getting in shape,” said junior Karin Underwood, a co-organizer.

Contestants will begin the triathlon by swimming 20 lengths of the pool (500 yards) in the AC. They will then bike from the AC to Forest Park, where they will do two loops, or about 12 miles, before returning to campus. Triathletes will cap their morning with a 5-kilometer run through main campus and the South 40.

One of the most interesting aspects will be the transition between each leg of the race. “You can take a lot of time and be really comfortable, dry yourself, tie your shoelaces really carefully or you can sprint through it,” Underwood said. “In the fastest triathlons, you have a wetsuit on, peel it off, put on running shoes and go. It adds a different aspect to the sport.”

Competing for a cause

Registration fees will be donated to earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. The specific beneficiary has not been decided as of press time, but organizers are working with Student Body President Jeff Nelson. Those who are interested can sign up online at washutri.com.

Individuals can pay $15 until March 10 and $20 afterward to register until the night before. Relay teams are charged $30, but this price goes up to $36 after March 10. Racers will also need to provide their own bikes. According to organizers, one person on a relay team can handle the swimming portion, another can tackle the bike ride and the last person can run the 5k. Two-person teams are also possible, with one person taking on one portion and the other person competing in the rest of the race.

“I like the fact that they allow you to do it as a team,” said senior Abi Barbour, who is competing with friends. “Everyone is pretty hesistant until they found out they can make a team.”

Participants will receive a shirt, and top finishers in the various categories of student, faculty, staff and relay team will earn prizes. Iron Ed, a veteran Iron Man triathlete, will speak to participants at the end of the triathlon.

Readying for the triathlon and other tips

Organizers emphasize the ease of this triathlon for individuals at any level. “You don’t have to be fast, Shuler said. “You can do it as slow as you want. You can walk if you need to. Just people doing their best and seeing what they can accomplish.”

According to Underwood, those who are already able to run two or three miles will have no trouble in this competition. Both Shuler and Underwood recommend biking and then running to practice the transition.

The Wash. U. triathlon club will run practices to get people prepared. Swim practices are from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the AC pool on Tuesdays and Thursdays, while short runs begin at 1 p.m. on Sunday and 3 p.m. on Friday. Bike practices are scheduled to begin after spring break, when the weather gets warmer.

“Its such an amazing feeling of accomplishment when you do an entire triathlon…especially if you haven’t done it before, and usually you get addicted and you have to do more,” Underwood said.