The local triathlon group, the Triple Threats, are readying themselves for the June 15 St. Andrew's Sprint Triathlon in Middletown.
For Brooke Hurd, it all started as just something to do, something different from the norm. A challenge.
It was back in January that Brooke, a teacher in the Caesar Rodney school district, attended her first triathlon group class for the Triple Threats triathlon team at the Central Delaware YMCA.
“My husband did a triathlon in Dewey this past September, and it was a really neat atmosphere,” she said. “When he mentioned the class I decided I’d give it a try.”
The group of approximately 30 people, which meets every Tuesday evening for classroom instruction and organizes practices at various times throughout the week, is in training for the St. Andrew’s Sprint Triathlon on Sunday, June 15, in Middletown.
A triathlon is a three-part event in various distances. For the St. Andrew’s race, there will be a 400-meter swim, followed by a 15-mile bike ride and ending with a 5K run.
Chris Hurd, Brooke’s husband and also an employee of the CR?district, said the experience of working in the class has been much different than when he trained for his first triathlon.
During the first go-round, Chris flew solo, creating his own training regimen, working out alone and operating on his own schedule.
“The training this time is much more specific,” he said. “My goals in each workout are much more focused when I’m training with the group and I’ve gotten more out of it than I could have ever imagined.”
The group is sort of a motley crew of age and experience levels, as well as levels of athleticism, the Hurds said.
Working in that environment has made the whole process much easier on someone like herself, Brooke said.
“I wouldn’t call myself a natural athlete,” she said. “But this is a group of wonderful people and we feel committed to each other, so I’d almost feel guilty if I didn’t keep going.”
Chris agreed, saying that while the typical perception of a triathlon might keep the average athlete away, the reality is nothing close to that.
“The thing that surprises everyone is the different sizes and shapes of the athletes,” he said. “People with skinny, muscular and athletic builds are the oddity. The elite are the oddity.
“It’s just regular, normal people that want to do something for themselves in a positive way,” Chris said.
The group is only a few weeks removed from their target date at St. Andrew’s and is set to do a trial run June 7.
Jerry Biang, a member of the class who has participated in triathlons in the past, said it has been interesting building up the class over the past few months. He has been quite impressed with the progress of the group.
“Seeing how they’ve progressed up to this point, there are a few weeks left until the race but they are ready today,” Biang said. “With this being their first time, they’re going to be very surprised. They’re going to surprise themselves with how well they do.”
Dover resident Jess Manning, another member of the class who also has participated in triathlons before, agreed with Biang.
“They are at a point where they’re going to surprise themselves,” Manning said. “There is an illusion that the triathlon is an event for an elite athlete. They are great for anyone because they give people confidence.
“There are people who are really going to be surprised at how much of a competitor they are.”
The process to prepare the group has been a long one, dating back nearly five months at this point. Biang, however, said that much time is necessary in making sure everyone is fully prepared to succeed.
The training works in stages, beginning with getting everyone in the class up to date on the idea behind what they’re doing, Biang said.
“We have to get everyone used to those three workouts,” he said, referring to swimming, bike riding and running. “Then we have to try and combine them, like do a bike ride and a run all in one workout.
“We’re at the point now where we’re ready to put it all together.”
Brooke is ready for June 15 and is anxious compete in the race. The benefits of the training, however, have stretched far beyond just what can happen that day.
“It’s changed my lifestyle,” she said. “I’m healthier and I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been in.”
Chris said he’s also gotten much more out of the class than just the physical build up, as he endorsed group workouts such as the Triple Threats as a way of staying healthy while building upon a healthy social life.
“Our workouts are like social events, it’s fantastic,” he said. “They’ve become our friends and that makes it a lot easier to motivate yourself to go. It’s going to be fun.”