Oak Brook's indoor race lets athletes try a triathlon

Updated 3/2/2012 10:10 AM

At the triathlon this weekend in Oak Brook, competitors won't have to dress for the weather.

Nobody will fight against the waves of a choppy lake or wipe out on their bicycles.

The Indoor Sprint Triathlon Sunday, March 4, at Oak Brook Park District's Family Recreation Center, 1450 Forest Gate Road, offers all the benefits of competition without many of the potential safety concerns of a traditional triathlon.

"You don't have to worry about being run over by a bike or kicked in the face while you are swimming," said Jessica Gray, the park district's aquatic manager. "It's really a triathlon for anybody."

The indoor triathlon goes as follows: a 10-minute swim in the lap pool, a 15-minute stationary bike ride and a 15-minute run on a treadmill.

The triathlon is scored by the distance you swim, bike and run during the allotted time.

"The best part about this format is that it really allows anybody to be a triathlete," said A.J. Collier, health and fitness manager at Bartlett Park District, who is the creator of the Indoor Sprint Triathlon and the series director.

"We definitely have people who are super competitive, and we also have people who see the format and say 'I could swim for 10 minutes, I could bike for 15 minutes and run for 15 minutes. I could do that.' So that really opens itself up to allowing people of all fitness levels to be involved."

Sunday's competition marks the end of the Midwest Indoor Sprint Triathlon series that has included triathlons throughout the winter at park districts in Bartlett, Schaumburg, Bolingbrook, Streamwood, Arlington Heights, Elk Grove, Lemont and South Barrington.

People can choose to participate at one triathlon or they can participate at all of them, Collier said.

"For some people, it's about beating their personal best, and that's what I want to hear as the series director is that they're enjoying it and looking to be even better," Collier said.

Extra exercise bikes and treadmills are dropped off at each facility on race day from Mundelein-based Direct Fitness Solutions, and groups of competitors begin in heats.

The indoor triathlons offer a 10-minute transition time between the swim and bike and another five minutes between the bike and the run that don't count against your final results.

"You can take some time and catch your breath and not have that stress that it's counting against your time," Gray said.

First- and second-place awards for each age group are given out.

Sunday is the conclusion of the series, so awards will be given to the overall male and female winners who have participated in four or more triathlons in the series.

Walk-ins are welcome Sunday and should arrive by 6:45 a.m. to register. The competition is limited to 48 competitors.

Participation is $30 for Oak Brook Park District residents, $40 for others.

"It's an event that anybody can do and you shouldn't shy away from it," Gray said.

For information, call (630) 990-4233 or visit obparks.org.

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