Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 4
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Fall triathlon upcoming

Watch out for runners and bikers darting through the streets of Walla Walla early Saturday morning, Oct. 2. Participants from all athletic backgrounds will be rising to the challenge of the annual fall triathlon, organized by the Whitman College swim team.

The event, which has been a swim team tradition for over 20 years, is “part fund-raiser, part community event,” said Jennifer Blomme, the head swim coach at Whitman.

“It brings folks together from various parts of campus, from Walla Walla and even from out of town,” she said.

Participants range from college students to faculty members to entire families.

The sprint triathlon includes a 500-yard swim, 10-mile bike and 3.2-mile run. The course is flat and well-marked, and snakes through the streets of Walla Walla. Volunteer members of the swim team dot the course, ready to shout encouraging words when the bikers and runners whiz by.

“[This event is] one of the most completable triathlons you can do,” said senior swim captain and veteran triathlete, Lauren Flynn.

The straightforward course and fun, low-pressure framework provide a great environment for first-timers like sophomore transfer student Steven Klutho to give it a go.

“I’ve never done a triathlon before, so I’m excited,” said Klutho, a former swimmer and cross-country runner. “I’ve heard that it’s fun, so I don’t want to miss out.”

Neither does sophomore Ryan Nesbit, who competed in his first Whitman triathlon in spring 2010.

“I thought, I love triathlons, I love Whitman: this has got to be cool,” he said. “I just had a ball.”

Nesbit has been training in eager anticipation for the triathlon by swimming, biking or running every day.

“Why not try your hardest and see what you can do?” he said.

Some participants choose to gather a couple of friends to each do just one leg of the race instead of completing the entire triathlon alone.  Jed Schwendiman, associate to the president, “had a blast” last year as the swimmer for a team comprised of the president’s office staff members.

Not only does competing as a team take pressure off individual athletes, but it also increases the size of the finish line cheering section, where spectators, participants and swim team organizers gather around to cheer on all of the athletes as they finish.

Waiting at the finish line for them are hand-designed T-shirts, food and raffle prizes. In the past, athletes have walked away with gift certificates to the Colville Street Patisserie, free pizza vouchers, Allegro Cyclery merchandise and even bottles of local wine.

“[The triathlon is] just a great way to spend a Saturday morning,” Blomme said.

Registration for the triathlon will continue in Reid on Thursday, Sept. 31 and Friday, Oct. 1  from 12-1 pm, as well as on the day of the race.

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