The Triathlon Club strives to keep students active
It takes a rare breed to be able to compete in a triathlon. The thought of miles of swimming, biking, and sprinting followed by the possibility of being rehydrated via IV doesn’t necessarily inspire a person to compete.
For Eric Peterson, president of the triathlon club here at Grand Valley State University, the end justifies the effort he must put into a triathlon.
“It was the most physically demanding thing I have ever done,” he said. “The entire race took me 14 hours to complete, crossing that finish line is a feeling of utter satisfaction. It makes all the training, blood, sweat, and tears worth it.”
For some, competing in triathlons is a way to keep their competitive nature satisfied, and for others it’s a lifestyle.
“The triathlon club is a great way of keeping people active,” said club member Kyle Kargula. “It also somewhat creates a community within itself. At every triathlon you know that everyone there has a common interest and goal, it’s a feeling unlike any other.”
The triathlon club competes in the Mid-East College Triathlon Conference (MECTC). The conference consists of Big 10 schools such as the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Purdue University, Ohio State University and the University of Illinois, and also a mix of smaller schools such as GVSU, Hope College and Kettering University.
There is also a recreational division within the club for those who are looking to simply stay active without the competition aspect.
“The recreational part of the club is a great way for people to improve their swimming, running and biking,” Peterson said. “If you don’t want to do this competitively we completely get that. Many people join because it’s an easy way of staying active, especially with the support system that comes along with the club.”
Football has the Super Bowl, basketball has March Madness and hockey has the Stanley Cup. When it comes to competing in triathlons, the pinnacle of the sport is the Iron Man World Championship in Hawaii. The race includes a 2.4-mile swim, followed up with a 112-mile bike ride, and then to top it all off a marathon to finish. According to Kyle Esper, an officer of the Triathlon Club, it is “25 percent training and 75 percent mental”.
“Competing in an Iron Man is unlike anything else,” said Esper, who competed in an amateur Iron Man. “It’s honestly the most mentally and physically challenging thing I’ve ever done.”
Whether you’re looking to compete with the greats in the all-mighty Iron Man, or you are simply looking to get back into shape, the triathlon club is a great way to get out and about. Who knows, maybe it will impact your life as it did Kyle Esper’s.
“If it wasn’t for the triathlon club, I wouldn’t have ever been able to do the Iron Man,” he said. “It has made me a better student as well. I would be in a completely different place than where I am now (without it).”