Ninth Turkey Triathlon brings in largest turnout yet

2013110111-02 Turkey Trot (Lauren Crest)-8
(Photo by Lauren Post) Two competing swimmers watch triathletes during the Ninth Annual Turkey Triathlon held at Weber State University.
2013110111-02 Turkey Trot (Lauren Crest)-13
(Photo by Lauren Crest) A turkey mascot and competitors and family gather around the pool after the swimming section of the Turkey Triathlon.
2013110111-02 Turkey Trot (Lauren Crest)
(Photo by Lauren Crest) Runners participating in the Ninth Annual Turkey Triathlon start their race at Weber State University.

Weber State University hosted the Ninth Annual Turkey Triathlon on Saturday with 175 competitors, some by themselves and some as part of relay teams with each member tackling a different facet of the event.

Triathlon participants ran a 5k, biked a 10k and swam 300 yards. The 5k began on campus and took runners to the Dee Events Center, where they switched to the 10k biking portion and rode to 4600 S., up around Skyline Drive and back down to the Swenson Gym to finish with the 300-yard swim.

Previous years have seen cancellations of the biking portion of the competition due to weather, which could have resulted in less participation, but the event was moved forward this year to avoid any weather conflicts.

“This was the largest turnout we’ve had so far for this event,” said Emily Davidson, marketing and operations coordinator for Campus Recreation. “Other than a small problem with an improperly marked bike route, the event went really well. Everybody seemed to have a good time and enjoy themselves.”

Shayli Lones, a senior at WSU, competed in the event as part of a relay team with her sister, Shyli Butters, and a friend, the three of them tackling the run, swim and bike segments respectively.               

“I saw people coming out of the pool at the end and they were all smiling,” Lones said. “It was definitely tough, but everyone seemed to be in high spirits and glad to be out here competing.”

Butters, who competed in the swimming leg, is a high school swimmer and has competed in two prior triathlons. She said that even though so many people were swimming in the pool at once, making it a little difficult to swim, she feels her team did well with a completion time of one hour and 18 minutes.

“Shayli was really the only one of us who trained for the event,” said Butters, who has now competed in three triathlons. “I think, for that, we did pretty well, and it was short and fun and there were a lot of people that did well. . . . This was a good race, and I would definitely compete in it again next year.”

The routes took a loop around the outside of campus, then headed toward the Dee Events Center and came back around for the run.

“The route wasn’t too difficult, but some of the sections were pretty steep,” Lones said.

Lones, who had her first experience with triathlons in this event but is already training for a biathlon in Hawaii, added that the event “went really well and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves . . . it featured a pretty good turnout.”

The shared starting line and transition sections forced coordinators to use a central route around campus for both the run and bike portions of the race. With the bike route diverging partway through, coupled with the fact that the bike was double the run portion, competitors were led to simply do two laps on their bikes around the running route.

“They started sending some people on two laps,” Lones said, “while others took the long way around.” Other than that, she said, the event went smoothly, with all 175 competitors crossing the finish line in less than two hours.

“I’m really glad that Weber State took the time to put on this event,” Lones said. “I think everybody had a really good time, for the amount of people that came out.”

The event also featured a raffle and prizes for the overall winners. The raffle prizes were helmets and other triathlon gear, in addition to the turkeys for the top three finishers of each gender.