Fourth annual BU triathlon to bring biggest competition yet

Despite the chilly winter, the competition amongst more than 70 triathletes will be heating up inside the Markin Family Recreation Center on Saturday.
The Bradley Triathlon Club is hosting its fourth annual indoor triathlon Feb. 15 at the Markin Center with approximately triple the number of participants from last year.
“I believe that the surge in the popularity of our indoor triathlon is a reflection of the tremendous progress our club has made over the year,” senior and Triathlon Club President Chris Douglas said.
Competitors will be divided into collegiate male and female categories, open male and female categories and male, female and mixed relay categories for the race consisting of a 10-minute swim, a 20-minute bike and a 15-minute run.
Aside from Bradley students and staff, collegiate triathletes from colleges like the University of Illinois and Michigan State University, members of regional triathlon clubs and the general public are set to participate.
Sophomore and Triathlon Club Vice President Alex Alvarez said both the club and the event have expanded due to volunteering and connections made with local triathletes, businesses and community members.
“Triathlon is driven by community, and it is for that reason that we have volunteered at races like the ‘Oak Run Triathlon’ and ‘Tri for Dax’,” Alvarez said. “[Volunteering] lets people within the community know about our club and get involved too.”
Due to these volunteering and outreach efforts, the indoor triathlon will also feature raffle prizes, free samples of nutritional supplements, coupon giveaways and informative booths from local businesses and sponsors to keep the triathletes busy during the downtimes of the events.
Outside of the indoor triathlon, the club itself has benefitted from forming such connections with the community as well.
Alvarez said he thinks that some people who may be interested in participating in triathlons may choose not to participate due to the costs associated with triathlons. However, he said, with the help of local businesses, the cost may not be a problem anymore.
“As a club we have tried to do everything in our power to reduce these costs, from obtaining bikes for the club that anyone can use to getting sponsors,” Alvarez said.
As the club expanded, so has its overall success.
Douglas, Alvarez and senior mechanical engineering major Andrew Cain will represent Bradley at the 2014 USA Triathlon (USAT) Collegiate National Championships in Tempe, Ariz. in April. This is the first year triathletes will represent Bradley at the USAT Collegiate National Championships.
The money raised from this Saturday’s indoor triathlon will help finance that trip to Arizona.
“This is the first time the club will be going [to USAT Collegiate National Championship], and hopefully it’s the first of many for the club,” Alvarez said.
While the indoor triathlon will feature many veteran and competitive triathletes, Douglas encourages individuals to get involved with the sport in the future, whether they have any sort of background in it or not.
“Regardless of your starting condition, set a goal and work to achieve it,” Douglas said. “Triathlon is about the journey of improving yourself. Try hard and try ‘tri-ing’.”
For Douglas and Alvarez, the indoor triathlon illustrates both the growth of the club and of the sport of triathlon as a whole.
“For me, triathlon is a way to prove that there’s always something beyond my mental limitations,” Douglas said. “As I donned my cap and dipped my toes into the water for my first ‘real’ triathlon, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. It hurt like nothing I’d ever felt, but I kept going, and now I can’t stop.”
Douglas said that there is no other sport that challenges the body and mind like triathlon, and this Saturday a record number of individuals will take on that challenge.