Temperatures are projected to be in the 40s, but it isn’t too early to hop on a bike or jump in the pool this weekend in Wilkes-Barre.
Odyssey Fitness is giving athletes the opportunity to run, bike and swim on Saturday, and for a good cause. The gym located on 401 Coal St. is hosting an indoor triathlon and biathlon with all race proceeds benefitting local veterans.
Since the gym’s pool is only four lanes wide, races will be broken into heats that get started at 9 a.m. Registrations are still being accepted on location — a form can also be found online at OdysseyFitnessCenter.com — but event organizer Crystal Wright asks that competitors sign up as soon as possible to receive their most optimal starting times.
Individual entries are $40 for members and $50 for non-members; team entries are either $80 or $90 total. Participants receive a race T-shirt and gift bag; awards will go to the overall winners, the top performers in each stage, and age-group winners.
Wright, the fitness director at Odyssey, said she was brainstorming for a fundraising recipient and thought of how several veterans are in her extended family.
“I think everybody in one way or another has a veteran linked to them, or somebody who’s in the military,” Wright said. “I think pretty much every single person has somebody at some point that’s been in the military.”
Early signs indicate this year’s race should be an even larger success than last year, when Wright revived the event following a one-year hiatus. Then only an indoor triathlon, it raised approximately $1,300 for Luzerne County Children & Youth.
This year, a separate biathlon has been added for those who want to stick to dry land. It’s helped raise registration totals from the 30s last year to more than 50 as of early this week, Wright said.
Both races include five miles on stationary bikes, which will be moved to Odyssey’s indoor basketball court, and two miles (20 laps) on the 0.1-mile track that circles the basketball court and pool. Triathlon entrants will also swim 400 yards, or 20 laps of the 20-yard pool.
There will be a spectator area to watch the biking and running, Wright said. Sponsors have donated refreshments for competitors, there will be a basket raffle going on throughout the event.
In another fundraising effort, Odyssey has been selling paper stars that have been posted to its front lobby walls with thank-you notes to veterans. Wright has also been collecting photos of veterans in gym members’ families to display in a slideshow that will be played during the race.
There’s sure to be more heated competition for some. Wright said last year’s male and female winners, Matt Rynkiewicz (who finished in 31:21) and Nadalie Solomon (29:18), are set to return. A team of Odyssey trainers also raced neck-and-neck during the same heat last year, she said.
But the biathlon and triathlon is open for anyone who’s looking to put themselves to the test.
“A lot of people also do this to help them with their New Year’s goals,” Wright noted.
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