Fifteen registered athletes came out bright and early to swim, cycle and run at the Indoor Sprint Triathlon held Saturday, March 10, at Gainesville’s J.A. Walters Family YMCA.
Three groups of five participants rotated between the three stations, swimming for 10 minutes, running on a treadmill for 20 and pedaling a stationary bike for 30. Winners were determined in eight age groups, the youngest for ages 11-19 and oldest for 80-plus, based on the distance traveled by each athlete in each segment.
“This is the third triathlon the YMCA has hosted, but it has been several years since the last one,” said Emily Young, YMCA wellness director. “This year, we have changed the time amounts for each activity a little bit, but it still adds up to one hour of exercise.”
Young said many first-timers took part alongside several seasoned triathletes.
“It doesn’t matter how much experience a person has as an athlete, we hold these events because we want to encourage people to get active and help them on their wellness journey,” she said.
The triathlon turned into a “women’s day” for Kristy Bassinger, her daughter Lillie, and their friends Stephanie and Abigail Moore, another mother and daughter duo.
“I started doing triathlons maybe eight years ago after watching the Olympics,” Kristy said. “I thought it looked neat. Lillie has done a kids triathlon before, but this was her first big one. She was the instigator for us doing this one together today.”
Stephanie and Abigail are newer to triathlons, but enjoyed it just the same.
“I play basketball and tennis, but this is my first triathlon,” said Abigail, who competed in the 11-19 age group. “My first impression is that it’s tiring but really fun, and I would definitely do it again. My favorite part was the cycling.”
Nate Moore wasn’t up for the competition like his mother and sister, but he came to support them.
“My mom is like a kid on a rollercoaster in the spin room,” he said with a laugh. “She looks like she’s having a lot of fun for this to be her second triathlon. I might have to try it one day.”
Others, such as veteran triathlete Emily Stephens, attend numerous events throughout the year.
“So far I’m signed up for three outdoors this year, but of course the indoor ones are much more structured,” she said. “Outdoors, people tend to rush more to transition between the activities, but with this one today, everyone has several minutes to rest in between. If you want to get into triathlons, an indoor is a very good way to start.”
Stephens explained that triathlons are different from other sporting events in that athletes essentially compete against themselves because everyone is so supportive of one another.
“In a lot of sports everyone is focused on themselves and winning, and not the people around them,” she said. “During the running portion at just about any event you go to, you’ll commonly hear participants encouraging each other on, like ‘You can do this!’ It’s an awesome experience.”