Athletes gear up for Naperville Sprint Triathlon
For area triathletes, there's no such thing as a lazy Sunday.
More than 2,000 competitors from 22 states will demonstrate that this weekend when they swim 400 meters, bike a 22K double-loop course and run a 5K in downtown Naperville.
The ninth annual Naperville Sprint Triathlon will begin at 7 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, in the water at Centennial Beach.
There will be athletes completing the entire race individually, as well as others taking on the three courses with a relay team. Weekend registration is $120 for individuals and $150 for relay teams. If slots are open, new registrations will be accepted from 12:30 to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Naperville Running Company, 34 W. Jefferson Ave.
The event was once an AARP triathlon restricted to people older than 50. But when that series was canceled, Bill Burke decided to take over the race and open it to all ages.
In its first year, the triathlon attracted about 600 competitors.
Now the race is expected to attract roughly 2,100 athletes to downtown Naperville.
"We have athletes from (ages) 12 to 90 in this race," Burke said. "The fact that this race has more than 2,000 participants says a lot about it and the health, fitness and participation of people in the community. Some people don't do anything all year-round, but they come out for this event."
And that's the unique thing about the Naperville Sprint Triathlon, says Burke: It's an entry level-event — the swim is even in a pool.
"For people that are intimidated by a swim, this is the perfect place for an entry-level triathlete to start," Burke said. "This is pretty reassuring. If you're going into the water, you're coming out. People get very nervous about that."
As an entry-level competition, the necessary training is minimal, making it the perfect athletic event for competitors who don't have 40 hours a week to devote to training.
"You don't have to do a tremendous amount of training for this," Burke said. "If you're a runner, you can do this. If you're a biker, you can do this. You can finish without doing 40 hours a week of training, so that's the attractiveness of it."
And most people do finish, Burke said, although not without some difficulty.
"The swim is the most technical," Burke said. "If it's a warm day, the last 5K can be tough."
Burke said the event is really a chance for the community to come together, and that motivates people to spend their Sunday swimming, biking and running.
"This is a big, local community event," he said. "This is bragging rights in your community."
And having that kind of competition is important for communities, Burke said — it's part of the reason he took up the triathlon nine years ago.
"It was really started just to have a competitive event," Burke said. "We can do a cycling event, we can do a running event, but let's put it all together and see how competitive you guys can be."
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