News: Swim, bike, run at your own pace
Story by Kristen Wong
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - For many people, there’s only one word for swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles in one day — “crazy.” But for the second year in a row, the Semper Fit Center is encouraging the less athletically-inclined to give it a try.
The second annual Semper Fit Try-Athlon is currently in its first week. For a small fee, participants are given a month to run, bike and swim the distances equivalent to a regular Ironman competition. The top three finishing participants will win a prize.
Jon Shiota, manager of the Semper Fit Center, said more than 20 participants successfully finished the Try-Athlon last year.
“Last year’s event was awesome,” Shiota said. “Everyone loved it. They loved the idea of being able to complete the distance of an Ironman and doing it at their own pace.”
Cpl. Jenna Greer, an expeditor with Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, and a native of Melbourne, Iowa, was one of last year’s finishers. She had never participated in a triathlon before and was curious to see if she could complete the challenge, so she registered for the Try-Athlon.
Greer, 24, spent the week alternating between biking and running. On some days, she would do both. Greer said swimming was the most challenging of the Try-Athlon’s three tasks.
“I was only able to swim on weekends so I had to make the most of the time in the pool,” Greer said.
Though participants are given an entire month, Greer completed the challenge in approximately two and a half weeks. Her desire to complete the Try-Athlon was enough motivation. She described the Try-Athlon as “fairly easy,” and said it was simply a matter of making time for the activity.
For those who might be interested in participating in this event, Greer gave a green light.
“My advice is to just try it,” Greer said. “Find a friend who would want to do it, too. Make it a team effort.”
Some participants got their first taste of a triathlon well before this event. Lindsey Hartsell, 27, previously experienced a triathlon firsthand by competing in a Waikiki sprint triathlon the year before the inaugural triathlon.
“I was so in love with the experience that when I saw the Try-Athlon at Semper Fit, I was very eager to sign up,” Hartsell said.
During the four weeks of the Try-Athlon, Hartsell said she planned her workout schedule ahead of time so she would be able to finish by the deadline.
Her challenge was biking. Though she finished the swimming portion in a mere four days and ran twice a week, biking took a lot of her time. She rode her bike to and from work each day, but still had to log hours at the gym to finish the biking portion.
After completing the Try-Athlon, Hartsell said she became consistent with working out and saw an improvement in her endurance.
“It’s an excellent experience, especially if you’re interested in doing a triathlon,” Hartsell said. “It’s a good introduction to the strenuous workout schedule you must maintain in order to complete a regular triathlon.”
Sgt. Daniel Brown, a radio operator with 3rd Marine Regiment, is trying the Try-Athlon for the first time this year. Brown, a native of Haltom City, Texas, previously competed in a mini-Ironman while he was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
Brown, 25, recently returned from leave and wanted to start getting back in shape, so he decided to participate in the Try-Athlon. He gets his running mileage from morning physical training, swims during lunch and rides his bike in the evenings. When asked why people should consider participating in the Try-Athlon, he said it could enable them to motivate and better themselves.
Though the Try-Athlon has already begun, registration is still welcome, provided the participant has enough time to finish the challenge. For more information about the Try-Athlon, call Semper Fit at 254-7597.