CMU's Chippewa Challenge Triathlon Event draws participants from all over Midwest
Sweat, exhaustion and teamwork – all in the name of good sportsmanship and event coordinating for the Chippewa Challenge Indoor Triathlon.
Central Michigan University’s Triathlon Club hosted the third annual Chippewa Challenger Indoor Triathlon Saturday at the Student Activity Center.
About 90 students were brought in from all over the Midwest to participate, including students from Michigan State University, the University of Michigan, Kettering University, Alma College and the University of Chicago, to gain conference points for the Midwest Collegiate Triathlon Conference in hopes to qualify for nationals.
Grand Haven junior and CMU Triathlon Club Treasurer Kelsie King has noticed more volunteers and participants than in previous years.
“Each year, it’s been getting better,” King said. “There’s more community involvement.”
Earlier that morning, before the event started, student and non-student volunteers flooded the SAC.
Volunteers were assigned tasks including scorekeeping, welcoming, athlete registrations and working the aid and refreshment stations positioned throughout the SAC.
Volunteers could be seen assisting racers and observers in every room of the event.
The event spanned six hours Saturday morning from 6:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The triathlons consisted of nine waves, with 10 participants per wave. Waves consisted of SAC pool swimming, stationary biking in the SAC Fitness Center and running at the SAC indoor track.
Although primarily hosting college students, the event was also open to the public. The ages for the non-collegiate participants ranged from 10 to 65 years in both male and female divisions.
First-time participant and St. Johns resident Carlone Bellant expressed nervousness as she anticipated her wave at 8:30 a.m.
“Running – that’s my least favorite,” Bellant said. “I like biking.”
The event also caught the attention of Frank Olechinowcz, a graduate school student at the University of Chicago.
“The indoor biking/running was unexpected,” Olechinowcz said after his wave. “The bike was probably the most challenging."
Olechinowcz noted how the seats in the SAC were different from the bicycle seats from his school, saying they were made for a more rigorous workout.
By noon, the final wave ended and all participants were to report to the billiards area, where they were welcomed with fresh fruit, pizza, bagels and assorted refreshments.
First place for the women's Top Collegiate award was Kate Vonn of Michigan State University. Nick Vasdekas of the University of Michigan was awarded first place for the men's Top Collegiate award.
More than 21 medals were handed out between collegiate and non-collegiate racers.