DIY Triathlon

by Scott Carkhuff, Kyle’s Bikes 2014 Triathlon Team

You can host a DIY TriathlonBefore it ever occurred to me that I'd be doing a DIY triathlon, I signed up at my local YMCA for a triathlon they were putting on. I have been a member for a very long time, so this was something that was exciting for me. I'd get to swim in a pool I swim in all the time, ride my bike on roads I ride on all the time, and then run through neighborhoods where I actually know whose house I’m passing. But, the big thing with this event is it’s very hard to get people to come to a triathlon in June that has an indoor swim.

So the day was getting closer, it was about a week out, I saw on my local YMCA’s Facebook page that they cancelled the event! I was upset to say the least. Not because of the time training—I would have been training anyway—but because, to me looking from the outside in, it didn’t seem like the event was a priority and not much time was put into the event to make it successful.

Why Can't We Do This?

A couple other people, who had been training to do this event as their first tri, voiced their displeasure as well. So I thought to myself, “Why can’t we still have this event?” As long as the pool is open we could still make this happen. So I contacted all the people that I knew were training to do this event and some other people who have done some triathlons in the past to see if they would want to come participate. I had one week to put together a DIY triathlon and get a couple volunteers.

We Did It!

You don't need many people for a successful DIY triathlonWe had volunteers, most of whom were spouses or parents. I marked the course early that morning with signs. We kept timing on an iPhone and then just marked everyone’s time down as they came in to the finish. In one week of preparation I got about ten people to participate and one team that participated. So the people who had trained for their first triathlon still got to do it as a practice day with nothing on the line, which I hope took some of the pressure off so they could feel confident when they toe the line at a real race.

All in all it was a good day even with the minimal number of people. It was still fun, it was a good training day. I have to thank my wife for keeping it organized and snapping some photos for everyone. I have to thank my mother for getting drinks and food for after the race. My mother in-law might have had the most important duty along with my sister in-law: they kept all the kids under control while we “raced.” Also, thanks to all the participants that showed up. I’m pretty sure they all had fun! (Once it was over ☺)

DIY Triathlon Participants: Luke Anderson, Jeremy Flores, Scott Carkhuff, Jeff Paschka, Stout Family, Kim Lee, Trevor Schmidt, Brett Hamilton, Josh Warmonger, Andy Bernholtz

DIY Triathlon Volunteers: Kylie Carkhuff, John Lee, Becky Carkhuff, Teresa Warmonger, Cindy Paschka, Shawna Hamilton, Wes Breckenridge

How Do You Put Together a DIY Triathlon?

With enough volunteers you can race in your own triathlon1. Make sure you have somewhere to perform it and be sure it will be safe for everyone. (Lifeguards)

2. Make sure it is okay with the facility that you're using and they are aware of what you are going to be doing.

3. Have a plan. Be sure to think all aspects of the event out. I wrote everything down to make sure I had everything covered from timing, to where we are having transition, to who’s counting the swimmers' laps.

4. This could possibly be #1, but get volunteers: family, friends, spouses, sons, daughters. They run the event while you race!

5. I purchased a gift card for the winner from Kyle’s Bikes. I told everyone there might be a prize for the winner. It gives a little motivation.

6. Last but not least, get participants! Maybe this is the hardest one to do knowing it’s not an official triathlon.

At the end of the day, relax and have fun at your DIY triathlon with your friends!


Photo credits: Group shot by Kylie Carkhuff, "Scott Racing" by Shawna Hamilton.

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Katherine is our Content Champion. She has done triathlons in the past, and now focuses on mountain biking and long-distance gravel riding. She still has a soft spot in her heart for weird multi-sport events like indoor triathlon and aquabike. She also teaches indoor cycling.

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