Surrey’s Indoor Sprint Triathlon helps newcomers get their feet wet

Second annual TRI event at Guildford rec centre on Sunday, March 25

By Trevor Beggs, contributor

You don’t have to be an Ironman to compete in this triathlon.

In fact, most people who will do this weekend’s Indoor Sprint Triathlon at Guildford Recreation Centre are newcomers to the sport.

“Out of all the people that participated last year, 80 per cent were just people who wanted to try it out or do it with a friend,” said event organizer Paul Jarvie. “A lot of people came just to say they completed the race.”

Jarvie heard about the idea of a “sprint triathlon” from the international ​Ironman​ entity, which hosts triathlon events around the world.

“It’s short,” he said, “and really what we wanted to do is create a training opportunity for people who are in the preseason for racing, or for people who are just beginners.”

• SEE ALSO:​Nathan Killam conquers obstacles at Triathlon Worlds in Penticton

For beginners, Jarvie has implemented a friendly format the event, also known as TRI Surrey.

Instead of doing a distance-based triathlon, Jarvie and organizers decided to put together a time-based one. This weekend event includes a 20-minute swim, 30-minute bike ride and a 20-minute run.

“It allows us to get the best of both worlds, by letting the veterans use this as a training opportunity, while newcomers to the sport can feel good about completing the event with their peers from start to finish.

“For us to use this format, it’s not as intimidating as a full-blown triathlon. It helps us get more people into the sport, and there’s only a healthy amount of stress,” he quipped.

• SEE ALSO:​Delta Triathlon cancelled for third year

After more than 30 people turned out last year, Jarvie and organizers decided to make this an annual event.

“We’re one of the only places in Surrey with an indoor track, so it allows us to host this event earlier in the year, rain or shine,” said Jarvie.

Everyone from teenagers to seniors competed in the event last year, and Jarvie marvelled at both the camaraderie and healthy competition between friends and family.

“It’s motivating, getting to watch young couples complete a goal together for the first time,” he said. “We also had quite a few people over the age of 55 compete in a triathlon for the first time as well.”

Even though it’s only a “sprint triathlon,” Jarvie said that nerves can still be a factor for beginners. That’s why they lay out a ​six-week training plan​ and have a pre-race meeting to go over what the day will look like.

“For a lot of people, this is all new to them and scary for them,” said Jarvie. “In any race, you’re going to have nerves and that’s just part of it. That’s why we take measures to help people feel comfortable and know what to expect.

“If all it ends up being is a chance to do your best at something new, you can still go home feeling good about yourself for that,” he added.

The cost to enter the event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, ranges from $10 to $50, depending on age and whether the competitor is solo or part of a team. Visit surrey.ca/culture-recreation/25340.aspx for registration details, or phone 604-501-5100.

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