Marshall Rec hosts Indoor Triathlon
HUNTINGTON — Any weather can be triathlon weather at the Marshall University Recreation Center.
Only the towering glass windows hinted that the outside was chilly and gray Saturday morning, as inside more than 80 adults and children swam, biked and ran in the Marshall Rec’s annual Indoor Triathlon.
Not many facilities in the Tri-State have the means to host an all-indoor triathlon for that many participants, albeit a condensed version of a larger outdoor race.
Adults were tasked with swimming 300 yards in The Rec’s pool, followed by eight miles of cycling in the upstairs spin studios and capped off with a two-mile run on the treadmills. Kids faced an abbreviated but no less challenging order of swimming 150 yards, cycling four miles and running one mile.
The annual race attracts and caters to a mix of true ironmen and ironwomen, weekend warriors and complete novices.
“People love this event because there’s nothing else in the area like this, and it’s for everyone,” said Kayla Dodd, Marshall Rec’s assistant director of marketing and membership. “Any fitness level can do it — you can walk in the pool if you need to, or put a lower gear on the spin bike.”
Though 13-year-old Colin Wright didn’t train much prior to it, the springy energy of youth helped him hold his own against his peers and grownups alike. Splitting time between South Shore, Kentucky, and Columbus, Ohio, Wright is preparing to run track for his middle school in Ohio.
“It feels like I’m accomplishing it,” Wright assessed his progress between the bike and run portions, stopping for a few gulps of Gatorade. “It feels like I’m doing average.
“I was pumped the whole week for this.”
As if that weren’t enough, Wright said he had a basketball game to play later that evening.
The novice ability of many under-18-year-olds was countered by the experience of the upper echelon of adult competition. The challenges were daunting to some, but it was simply another race for Brenda Scott.
The 53-year-old from Point Pleasant, West Virginia, currently the principal at the Cabell County Alternative School, placed first in her age group with relative ease, and it’s a byproduct of never ceasing to improve physically.
“It’s about challenging yourself. You start at a 5K, then a 10K, then a half-marathon, then a marathon,” Scott said, having run all of the above and then some. “Same thing with triathlons — you start small and go up to the Ironman.”
The trophies have piled up over time, and now with age it’s more about camaraderie than anything else, she explained — a fun challenge to do under an hour on a Saturday before lunch.
“A lot of it now is about the fellowship,” Scott said. “I don’t worry so much about being first.”
The overall winner was 21-year-old Will Shiels, of Barboursville, finishing with a combined time of 28:59. Contessa Kennedy, 31, of Winfield, West Virginia, was the top overall female finisher and placed third overall with a combined time of 29:51.
Proceeds from the triathlon benefit the Student Rec Council, a campus organization developing and training students involved with the Marshall Rec Center.
Complete times can be found online at TriStateRacer.com.