Those who want to win a Thanksgiving turkey can come out this weekend to the Ninth Annual Turkey Triathlon and run, bike and swim against 140 other competitors.
The Nov. 2 event is a sprint triathlon consisting of a 5k run, 10k biking race and a 300-yard swim in the areas surrounding Weber State University, with the swim taking place in the Swenson Pool.
“The event is kept shorter to benefit beginners and people who simply like to do triathlons,” said Kosti Efstathiou, the Intramural Sports and Recreation Club coordinator for Campus Recreation. “It gives people the opportunity to try their hand at running tri without seeming too daunting and really keeps the race welcoming to everyone.”
The race is mainly hosted on campus, with the starting gate and transitions in the A7 parking lot by the Swenson Gym, to keep the locations central and cut down on the time it takes to make the transitions from run to bike and bike to swim.
“Weather has been an issue for us in previous years, forcing us to cancel the bike route,” Efstathiou said. “So this year we moved the event forward to try and get around that.”
Saturday is set to be a brisk 65 degrees, with no rain or snow in sight.
Shayli Lones, a senior at WSU, is competing in the triathlon as part of a team relay, tackling the running portion while her sister and friend take the swim and bike components respectively.
Lones started training for this event about six weeks ago at the urging of her sister, who has competed in two prior triathlons.
“It isn’t so hard if you start training and practicing,” Lones said. “It’s really something that’s fun to work forward to and improve on.”
Lones said she is hoping to do a biathlon in Hawaii over Thanksgiving, so this event is an opportunity for her to get her feet wet and get a taste of what endurance racing is all about.
According to Emily Davidson, the marketing and operations coordinator for Campus Recreation, the event has been growing in recent years, featuring 140 competitors, 30 more than last year, in addition to the 30 student volunteers and auxiliary staff to help ensure the event runs smoothly.
After the race, everyone comes back and gathers in the gym for an after-race rally and awards ceremony.
The WSU Triathlon Club petitioned local businesses and community members to donate turkeys to the event. While all the competitors and age-group winners get praise and recognition, only the overall winners get the turkeys, according to Davidson.
The race starts at 9 a.m. in the A7 parking lot. Registration is open to all members of the community, and the event can be done as an individual or as part of a team relay. Registration is open right up until the event starts on Saturday and opens for the day at 7 a.m.
“It’s a beginners race, so you don’t have to have the experience to come out and do this,” Davidson said. “You just need a bike and a willingness to compete.”
The event costs $20 for an individual student and $30 for a relay team, with prices increasing for teachers and faculty, capping at $45 for the general public. Those interested can call Campus Recreation at 801-626-7967 or visit www.weber.edu/campusrecreation.