Barrie Baydogs participate in TriMukoka Winter Indoor Triathlon Classic in Huntsville

 DAVID MANN, Special to the Examiner

Barrie Baydogs member Gary Pluim finished in second place in the 15-minute triathlon in Huntsville on the weekend. SUBMITTED

Barrie Baydogs member Gary Pluim finished in second place in the 15-minute triathlon in Huntsville on the weekend. SUBMITTED

As winter further sets in with frigid temperatures and dumps of snow, runners and triathletes competed in their latest race indoors.

The inaugural TriMukoka Winter Indoor Triathlon Classic took place Sunday at the Canada Summit Centre in Huntsville.

It likely won’t be long before the run-swim-bike event is considered a ‘classic’ by locals, like its name suggests.

Barrie Baydogs member and triathlon veteran Gary Pluim ran his way to a second-place finish in the 15-minute triathlon.

Pluim was among the field of 82, which included competitors from as far away as London and Kingston.

Located in the middle of a snow belt, TriMuskoka can be sure to count on runners from this region.

“By nature in Barrie you can’t really ride a bike or swim outdoors in the winter,” said Barrie Baydogs member and longtime triathlete Connie White. “People still want to train, but it’s nice I think for people to train towards something and test their skills before they head outside, so they feel less intimidated.”

For more than 80% of the runners, it was their first triathlon.

“They had an awesome experience, it was a nice, controlled environment,” said TriMuskoka president and organizer Rich Trenholm. “It gives them (competitors) a sense of the different elements, and they can say ‘this is actually challenging or I have to pace myself or strategize a little bit about it’.”

Each contestant completes all components of a triathlon, but rather than travelling a designated distance, the run, swim and bike are separated into 15-minute intervals.

Points are then awarded based on how far you travel over each time span: 10 points for every 25-metre lap completed in the pool, 25 points for each half-kilometre completed on the stationary bike, and 27 points for each lap of the 217-m indoor track.

Entering an indoor triathlon is, in a lot of ways, like going to the gym for an intense set of circuits.

White has run in three indoor triathlons previously, and she also spent three years organizing indoor triathlons at the YMCA in Innisfil.

“I find the swim and bike I loved because there’s music on and people around and you don’t have that when you’re on the road,” said White. “The run I found pretty monotonous, you’re counting laps, but I think overall it’s nice to have music on and that can be a game-changer for a lot of people.”

One of the primary objectives for this event was to enhance physical activity in the community, specifically among youth.

Last year was the first that TriMuskoka (outdoor triathlon) turned a profit; as a result, the money was reinvested into the indoor triathlon.

Youth entires were largely subsidized which paid off as 25 of the competitors fit the age group.

“We’re creating an opportunity for the youth,” said Trenholm, who trains for upcoming races even while on vaction. “We can get people physically fit and physically active.”

What makes triathlons particularly unique is who they attract.

“It’s one of the only sports where pros and weekend warriors get to race on the same course at the same time,” said White, who has completed races with various members of her own family. “You can be a 55-year-old grandma running around or a 20-year-old pro earning your wages.”

Triathletes will fill up their calendars for the spring months ahead with races one weekend after the next, thanks to the TriMukoka Winter Indoor Triathlon Classic, many new runners are sure to join the fun.

As for next year’s race, “we’ve already started planning,” Trenholm said. 

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