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Club forming to help train triathletes
Kelly Parham, right, makes measurements on Jon Kent at Fit 2 Tri to help adjust the bike that is used in triathlons. A triathlon club is being started in Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed
Triathlon Club information meeting
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Fit 2 Tri shop in Gainesville at South Enota Drive and Thompson Bridge Road, next to Publix

If your new year’s resolution is to partake in a triathlon, the ultimate test of athletic endurance, you may find you are in good company in Gainesville.

Roughly 70 people in the area are joining a burgeoning triathlon club that aims to bring more people to the sport, train them properly and showcase Gainesville and Lake Lanier as a growing triathlon hub.

Beginners of all ages are invited to the club’s first informational meeting tonight to learn more about the growing sport.

Jesse Turk is a local triathlete and began training two years ago after making a decision to get in shape. He said washboard abs are not a prerequisite for joining the club.

“What we’re looking for with our club is to offer training, support and really a user-friendly access to being able to get into triathlons,” Turk said. “The thing that we want to do, especially in the new year, is to get people who are afraid of them or who want to do something different to build a community. There’s a lot of people in Gainesville who do them, and we just want to bring them together.”

Turk said a full triathlon comprises a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.

“That requires a lot of practice, and that’s what we’ll be doing with our club,” he said.

Acknowledging that triathlons are daunting to even superb athletes, Turk said the My First Triathlon race on June 6 at Lake Lanier Islands is a great triathlon for beginners. He said to participate in that race, no triathlon experience is allowed.

The beginners race consists of a 1/4-mile swim, a 12-mile bike ride and a 3-mile run.

“Basically you just have to be willing to get out there,” he said.

Turk said club leaders will coach beginners through swim, bike and run clinics, as well as prepare them for the fast-paced transitions.

He said the hundreds of people who participate in the nearly half-dozen area triathlons each year keep the energy high while the multifaceted race works out the whole body.

“It’s a lot better than just running,” Turk said. “If you’re a good biker, then it will make you a better swimmer and a better runner. They all help each other out.”