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Campus to play host to Sprint Triathlon on Sunday
May 3, 2011Tweet
Binghamton University faculty, students and residents within the Binghamton community are preparing to compete in the 2011 Sprint Triathlon to be held at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 8, at the West Gym.
Sponsored by Sodexo, the Health and Wellness Studies Department, Campus Recreational Services, Embroidery & Screen Printing Network and the Eating Awareness Committee, the triathlon helps raise funds for educational programming aimed at helping students maintain healthful and balanced eating habits, and for consultations and referrals to treatment services for those impacted by disordered eating.
It also provides veteran and aspiring athletes the chance to display their skills in a series of trying physical activities.
“We want it to be a jump-start for the local athletes into their season,” said Harry Back, aqua director and lecturer. “I think it’s a way of reaching out. It’s for a good cause.”
Like last year’s triathlon, the race will consist of a 400-yard swim in the West Gym pool, followed by a 10.2-mile bike ride through the suburbs and ending with a 5K run on campus.
“We wanted something more challenging than the traditional 5K run. It gives people a chance to be in a unique type of event,” said Cindy Cowden, associate director of campus recreational services.
There are a couple of changes, however, that were applied to improve this year’s race.
Last year, one of the main issues was the lengthy time spent calculating how long it took for each participant to complete the race. Cowden said this was because times were recorded manually.
This year will be different. “We have a finishing company named Fast Finishes coming in to do the timing,” she said. “Each runner will have a chip timer to wear on his or her ankle to record the time. It adds to the professional feel of the race.”
During the actual race, timing is everything, yet the competitors will also have to take into account the time spent changing clothes and gear between each leg.
“The clock never stops, so from the minute you start swimming till you finish the run, your clock is running,” Back said. “The way the chips work is that there will be transition mats, so when everyone runs over the mat it will take their time between each section. Those that have practiced and became good at putting on their shoes will have an advantage.”
Another change was applied to the bike and running courses. Cowden said due to the challenging nature of the course, there were a few people who had trouble staying on the right track last year.
This year directional signage will be added to the bike route, along with more volunteers on the routes to aid the participants. About 30 volunteers in all will help out during the race.
One challenge to last year’s race that could not be helped was the weather. Back said that “last year it rained, so we are hoping for better weather this year. Right now we have around 70 competitors, but hopefully we will get a few more.”
A Binghamton professor who participated in last year’s triathlon said the event is physically demanding.
“You do have to be trained; it requires a lot,” said David Klotzkin, associate professor of engineering who will compete again in this year’s race. “I trained a little bit more this year, and I have a new bike so it should be easier.”
Klotzkin likes the different legs of the race because it takes some pressure off of his knees. “I used to be more of a competitive runner, but then I got bad knees, so I was looking for exercise that involved running and biking, which makes it a lot easier.”
Back stressed the importance of watching the race at the transition points. After watching by the pool, spectators can move to the first transition point in the parking lot behind the West Gym. This will be the starting point for the bike race. The competitors will then come back and change clothes to begin the run in the same area, Back said.
What makes the triathlon so special is that no other event like it takes place on campus.
“It’s new to the campus,” Cowden said, “It’s also one of the major fundraisers for the Eating Awareness Committee. The funds help bring in speakers, educational programming and other services for students.”
“A lot of people don’t think they can accomplish a triathlon,” Back said. “With a little training and guidance, I think anyone can do it. The reward is pretty great for the individual.”
More information about the Sprint Triathlon can be found at Campus Recreational Services.