Endurance Sports Planning: Recently there was some banter in the blog world regarding joggers versus runners. This discussion was prompted by a post from Julie Reyes of The Hotlegs Runner and an ad by Pearl Izumi. The headline of the ad is ‘WE ARE NOT JOGGERS’ and continues on to discuss running and jogging and essentially makes light of jogging. This led me to thinking about the sport of triathlon and all the varied distances. There are sprint triathlons, Olympic distance triathlons, Half Ironman and Ironman triathlons. Do triathletes view each other differently? Does an Ironman think that a sprint triathlete is not in the same realm?
The WTC announced a new series of triathlon races called the 5150 series. Which is a series of Olympic distance events. An Olympic triathlon consists of a 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run. When you add up the numbers you get to 51.5k (31.9 miles) thus the 5150 series. If you are at all familiar with the Ironman races then you know that the Half Ironman distance is 1.6k swim, 90.1k bike and 21k run, while the Ironman distance is double that.
So does the person who has done the Iron-distance think that completing an Olympic or Sprint triathlon is any less and would a company that creates products for such events come right out and say that you are not a triathlete if you don’t do 140.6? The time that it takes to train for a 140.6 mile race is very high and some just don’t have the time or the opportunity to do that. So are they any less than a 140.6 finisher? I think not, I think that person is a triathlete. I think that once you finish all three stages in the same day that you are a triathlete. Notice I did not say in an hour for a sprint or 2 hours for an Olympic.
I think the difference lies in being call an Ironman. When I discuss my quest to compete at 70.3 Ironman California I make a clear distinction that it is not an Ironman and that it is ‘only’ 70.3 miles compare to the 140.6. I have a ton of respect for anybody that goes out and trains and competes no matter the distance. But I also believe that 140.6 is special and should viewed that way.
During my typical day of reading blog after blog after blog I came across one of my favorites which is authored by Kristin White. Kristin is an amateur whose ability has put her on the podium at 70.3 Syracuse. She finished first in her age group, first amateur and 3rd overall female. You then go on to see that in 2010 she competed in sprint triathlons prior to 70.3 Syracuse and after she posted great results at Buffalo Springs. This past October Kristin raced in Kona where she was 5th in her age group and the 36th overall female. Does the fact that Kristin raced in Kona make her a triathlete? I don’t think so, I think what made her a triathlete was competing in a triathlon and finishing.