Volume 90, Issue 93

Thursday, March 20, 1997



Tri, tri and tri again

By Kathy Ens
Gazette Staff

Last weekend Western's triathlon club competed at the Trent Triathlon in Peterborough and won the overall team competition despite the -5C weather, cold wind and its lack of experience.

This university series final race was the first outdoor triathlon race in eastern Canada. Western raced against five other universities – Bishop's, Trent, McMaster, Waterloo and Queen's – and came out on top to win the series for the third consecutive year.

This triathlon involved a 750-metre pool swim, a 22-kilometre outdoor bike race and a five-kilometre outdoor run, though the bike event was canceled because of snow. The triathlon is quite unique compared to the triathlon in the summer. The competitors must swim a race indoors, then run to the change room, throw on their outdoor clothes and then run outside.

The triathlon at the university level shows a very wide spread of experience. Most of the competitors have little experience and few compete on a regular basis.

"Ninety per cent who race are novices while 10 per cent race in the summer and as a summer job," Jason Vurma, the vice-president of Western's triathlon club and a member of the National Amateur Team, said. "The races are short and meant to be fun, not competitive."

Vurma, an avid competitor in the sport, finished third in the university series standings.

The independent sport club boasts an impressive 110 members.

Western did not win the triathlon because of experience. Most competitors ran in their first race. The races are geared more to the people who have little experience than the people who do.

Club president, and a member of the National Elite Development Team, Richard Pady finished first overall in the race and second in the series standings. His finish was an impressive one as he was 15 seconds down from the leader after the swim, but he stormed back in the run to win. In the overall women's category Holli Denomme finished third and Gabbli Whitlock took the silver in the rookie women category.

Holli Denomme finished third overall in the series standings, a result she was pleased with.

"I find it is a very active sport," Denomme said, "It keeps me in shape with the variety of sports."

One advantage to this sport is the low equipment cost factor. All one really needs to compete are a pair of shoes, a swimsuit and goggles. A mountain bike is not necessary to own since some races supply the bikes and the team shares the bikes. The sport is mainly meant for beginners to have fun.

The team trains as hard as some varsity sports on campus and its competitors hope they come to a point where they could gain varsity status.

"Many more competitors would find the sport more competitive if it was at the varsity level," Denomme said. "It is possible that the sport could become a varsity sport in the next 10 years if the right steps are taken," Vurma added.

To Contact The Sports Department: gazsport@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997