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Triathletes run, bike and swim through Markin

More than 25 people from campus and the community ran, biked and swam their way through the first indoor triathlon at Bradley last weekend.

“The triathlon started from a somewhat impulse decision,” triathlon club president Jeremy Franklin said. “The focus of the event is to promote healthy living and is an extension of the Get Fit, Stay Fit program that Markin provides.”

Franklin said he started the triathlon club earlier this year, and it’s the first triathlon club ever on campus.

“The club meets two to three times a week to improve on our swimming, biking and running skills,” he said.

The group has worked with a local professor who has participated in several Iron Man triathlons.

Executive Director of Campus Recreation and Athletic Facilities Mike Keup said he was excited about the event as soon as the idea was pitched to him.

“I’ve seen more interest in running competitions and the idea of a triathlon from faculty and students in the past three to five years,” he said. “Jeremy and the other coordinators were very willing to do the planning and coordination for the event. I was very happy with the idea and their willingness to create the event, so I was immediately on board. They deserve a significant amount of credit for putting this event together.”

Markin was a perfect location for the triathlon, Keup said.

“We had logistics to discuss, of course,” he said. “There are a limit to the number of people that can be in the pool or on bikes at one time, and we had to close the track to daily users. However, we were able to borrow bikes from elsewhere so everyone had one, and there were no issues. The event was a natural fit in Markin.”

Keup said he thinks the event was very successful.

“Nobody had big expectations for participation, but we still had about 25 people and the club really met participants’ expectations,” he said. “I really hope this will become an annual event. Maybe we can do an indoor/outdoor event when the weather is nicer.”

That’s on Franklin’s radar, too.

“Although the event was small this year, we raised enough awareness to create a much greater turn out for next year,” he said. “I would like nothing more than to make this event an annual thing.”

Triathlon participants were not all Bradley students. Ann Schmitt, wife of a Bradley professor, said she was very impressed with the event.

“In all respects, it was extremely well run, especially for a first-time triathlon,” she said. “They had great volunteer support, and everyone seemed to have a very good time. I didn’t notice any glitches. Overall, I was really impressed.”

Schmitt said the triathlon was a great experience for both experienced and not-so-experienced athletes.

“It wasn’t so long that it was too much for people who hadn’t been training for months, but it was long enough to get a sense for how fun and challenging a multi-sport event can be,” she said. “It’s not easy to gauge how much effort you can put into each discipline, and then switch gears and do the next. It’s not every day you get the chance to ride all out on a bike and then get off and run as fast as you can.”

Participant Paul Higgs said he participated in the triathlon to prepare for another event.

“I wanted to try the event to prepare for an Olympic triathlon in the fall,” he said. “I have always enjoyed running and am doing a half marathon in April.”

Schmitt said she liked that the triathlon offered students and faculty the chance to try something they may not have had the chance to try before.

“It’s great that the triathlon club provided students the opportunity to try something new,” she said. “I saw a lot of people who were doing their first triathlon. It was the perfect way for people to try it – low entry fee, no need to get up super early, travel or borrow equipment. Everyone seemed to have a really good time.”

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