Athens to host first triathlon

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What originally started as the dream of a retired Ohio University professor has now turned into Athens' first triathlon.

Retired Army ROTC Military Science professor Bill Hauschild, a long-time tri-athlete and two-time Iron Man competitor, collaborated with OU Christian student organization Athletes in Action to plan Athens' first triathlon.

"When Bill said, 'What about a triathlon?' I thought it was great idea. It's novel, and he has experience with it," said Mark Heflin, adviser for Athletes in Action.

The Athletes in Action Triathlon will start in the OU Aquatic Center at 7:30 a.m. on May 7. It is co-sponsored by HFP Racing, a multisport management company.

"There are not really any triathlons that exist in southeast Ohio," Hauschild said. "We wanted to plan an event that would bring people to Athens and show what a neat town it is."

Hauschild began a 17-week training program at WellWorks last month to prepare competitors for the event. "I specifically put together the course to build up to the triathlon as a way to get the word out," Hauschild said.

OU's triathlon will have a 500M serpentine swim, a 25K bike ride and a 5K run. The course, which takes participants along the Hocking River and out to New Marshfield, caters to both beginner as well as intermediate athletes.

"It's a great beginner's event because the swimming is in the Aquatic Center," Hauschild said. "Usually in triathlons you start with a big group and there are people swimming next to you, people swimming under you, people swimming over you. Even for a strong, experienced swimmer it can be scary."

Participants can race solo or in teams of three, with one person swimming, one person biking and one person running. The registration fee for individual participants and relay groups is $50 and $90, respectively. The fee increases by $10 after April 26, and all proceeds from the event will go towards Athletes in Action and Ohio University.

Both Heflin and Hauschild stressed the easygoing nature of the event.

"With the rolling hills of southeast Ohio, and it's going to be spring so the trees will be in bloom; it's going to be beautiful," Heflin said. "The triathlon is just a fun experience."


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