By Jonathan Mizger
Eastern Connecticut State University's track & field squad, alongside Newington Bike, will be sponsoring the Indoor Triathlon at Eastern's Sports Center this Sunday, March 3 at 9 a.m.
Above: Jonathan Reik, the current world triathlon champion in the 60-64 age group, will participate in Eastern's indoor triathlon in March. With Reik, from left, are Shaina Short, Beth Landry and Eastern head track and field coach Kathy Manizza. (Photo courtesy of Steve McLaughlin).
This will be the third fundraising event that the track & field team has done this year. The track team had a marathon relay in the fall and is involved in the athletic department raffle.
In her first season at Eastern, track & field coach Kathy Manizza is a triathlon member of the Newington Bike Club and got the chance to get the club to help out with the team's fundraising project.
"I know the guys that run the Newington Bike Shop and this summer they said would you have any interest in doing something [here] in the winter and give people an opportunity to stay involved in triathlon in the colder months," said Manizza of the event, which was originally scheduled for Feb. 10 but was postponed to the current date due to snow. "They came out in October-November and they checked out our facility, our pool, the lobby, and the gym, and we came up with a plan that's kind of unique."
The event will involve up to 72 people competing in swimming, biking, and running. There will be six waves of 12 people competing to start out the event. The first athletic event will take place in the Sports Center pool, followed by using the bikes inside Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium, and then running inside the same gym. The six waves were based on the size of the athletic facility and the pool.
The final wave will involve a "team" division of students and faculty.
As the first wave finishes in the pool and transitions to the bikes, the second wave will enter the pool, and will continue until the sixth wave finishes in the gym. Each participant must arrive at the Sports Center 30 minutes before his or her wave.
Each participant must bring his or her own bike and the Newington Bike Shop's trainers will provide the necessary measuring tools to calculate the mileage.
Manizza pointed out that this triathlon is no ordinary one: triathlons are normally based upon how far you go, this one will measure how long you go. Each participant at this triathlon will spend 20 minutes in the pool, 20 minutes on the bikes, and 20 minutes in the gym.
The Eastern track team will be escorting each athlete by counting the number of laps in the pool, in the gym, and measure the mileage on the bikes.
Each participant will get a scorecard based on his or her performance in each event. Each participant will be performing in the same time of 20 minutes in each event, but their score will be determined by how far they go. There will be a first, second, and third place for males and a first, second, and third place for females.
"It's a fun, different twist combining all three of the sports: swim, bike, run," said Manizza. "It's a different way to do it and a way to keep people involved in the winter."
Each participant will pay an entry fee of $35 and a portion of the money will go to the track & field program. Anyone interested in participating can register at www.newingtonbike.com.
Manizza views the event in two ways: a fundraiser and a way to get the community involved at Eastern.
"The one thing that I like about the triathlon is its bringing new people in," said Manizza. "With both the marathon relay and the raffle tickets, we may be asking the same people to support our program. [The triathlon] is bringing in 72 new people that some of them may start supporting Eastern track and Eastern athletics."
Eastern's track & field team is excited to have a fun day with the 72 participants, who will have a great opportunity to visit Eastern and get in a good hard workout .