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Ohio State hosts indoor triathlon

Courtesy of Melisse Aspery

Triathletes looking to compete during the winter season could get their chance when OSU’s Triathlon Club hosts its annual Indoor Triathlon at the RPAC Sunday.

The race will consist of a 10-minute swim in an indoor competition pool, a 20-minute stationary bike ride and a 15-minute run on the RPAC’s indoor track.

Dan Brook, a second-year in biomedical science and a member of the Triathlon Club who competed in last year’s race, said the simplistic format is easy for beginners to follow.

“It seems like a pretty hectic activity but it’s actually very simple,” Brook said. “There’s only one way to go, so you just go until they stop. It’s pretty well organized and there aren’t many ways to get lost, unlike an outdoor triathlon.”

Melisse Aspery, a fourth-year in material science and engineering and the co-race director, agreed the race is ideal for those new to triathlons.

“It’s as challenging as you want it to be,” Aspery said. “With the indoor format, it’s just based on time, so you can swim and bike as far as you want in that amount of time. For people who have maybe never done a triathlon before, that can be a good thing because they can just see whether or not they like it.”

Racers determine their own pace for each section, so they can compete as intensely as they wish, as long as they compete the full time.

“It’s a fun race because there’s not a lot of pressure,” said Mark Schenberger, a second-year in business who participated in last year’s race. “It’s just what you can do in a certain time, so if you’re doing a swim, you’re not going to be stuck out in the middle of the water, like you could at an outdoor race.”

To make the race run efficiently, participants are put into groups according to ability, and groups set off in waves about 25 minutes apart. The first wave is scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m., and Aspery said she expects the race to wrap up by 5:30 p.m.

Schenberger said competing at indoor triathlons is definitely different from outdoors.

“It’s harder to see who you’re competing against at an indoor race,” Schenberger said. “You can’t see the physical distance between you and everyone else, so you’re not sure what you’re competition is.”

Aspery said there is a formula that calculates how far racers go with each timed section, which is then used to figure out who would have gone fastest at an outdoor triathlon. That formula determines the race’s top finishers.

The race will feature two divisions, a collegiate division for students from any school, as well as an open division for members of the general public. As of Thursday afternoon, there were 140 registered racers, but Aspery said she hopes to fill the event at 150.

“We definitely want a lot of people to sign up because it’s more fun when there’s more people,” Aspery said.

Aspery said of the 140 registered races, 79 are collegiate racers from 12 other universities, including University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Dayton.

The entry fee for the race is $35 for the collegiate division and $45 for the open division. The money raised will fund the Triathlon Club’s trip to nationals, which are in Arizona this spring.

Aspery said besides having something for triathletes to do when they can’t do their sport outdoors, the main objective behind the indoor race is to expose more people to the sport.

“One of the coolest things is that people of all ability levels can compete,” Aspery said. “I hope the event goes smoothly and people who are new to triathlons like it enough to continue the sport.”

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