What is a triathlon? It is a multi-sport race where participants first swim, then bike, and finish with a run/walk. Triathlons have become so popular they are now a part of the official Summer Olympics competition and have attracted worldwide interest.

It is true that there is a group of professional triathletes that are probably the healthiest people on the planet, but the vast majority of triathletes are just regular people who want to have good time, improve their personal fitness and get out among like-minded people for a little friendly competition.

Triathlons came on the national scene when a group of military men in Hawaii were debating who is a better athlete — a runner, a biker or a swimmer. Six of them came together on the island of Oahu and did the first known Ironman Triathlon, consisting of a 2.4 mile open ocean swim (the distance of the annual Waikiki Rough Water swim), a 112 mile bike ride (the distance around the island of Oahu), and then a marathon (using the 26.2 mile Honolulu marathon course). The Hawaii Ironman race has grown to attract thousands of competitors each year and is considered the International Championship of Triathlons.  

The inaugural Old Capital Triathlon event, to be held May 29, will be a sprint distance with a 500 yard swim, a 15-mile bike ride and five kilometer run (3.1 miles). The idea of a triathlon in Baldwin County goes back a few years but came to fruition when some employees at GMC began to plan for one at Lake Sinclair. The overarching idea was to attempt to showcase some of the high points of the Baldwin County area. Lake Sinclair is a natural location for the swim, then making the Historic District part of the bike route includes Milledgeville’s extensive attraction to historical tourism, and the run will be in the scenic Milledgeville Country Club area. The triathlon course highlights many of the strengths of Central Georgia and will increase awareness of the area while providing a boost to the economic well-being of local businesses.

A sprint triathlon is designed for all ranges of competitors, beginners and seasoned. Two such people involved in the planning and coordination of the event fit those two examples. Jill Robbins, a full-time working soccer mom, plans to make this her second triathlon. While training, Robbins has improved her fitness while reducing her weight by 35 pounds.

“This is the best physical shape I have been in a decade, and it all came about because of the triathlon and wanting to train for it — anyone can do it,” said Robbins.

On the other end of the spectrum, Edward Shelor, who has competed in more than 70 triathlons in places like Hawaii, Maryland, Florida and Georgia, also plans to participate. Shelor began competing in triathlons while on active duty in the Marines and continued the sport after moving to Lake Sinclair 10 years ago.

“It is not unusual to drive to Florida or other parts of Georgia to do a triathlon, so having one in our own backyard is particularly nice,” noted Shelor. “Triathletes have an average income of $126,000, average age of 37 and are obviously among the healthiest people in our country. What a great group to have come to Baldwin County,”

For more race day information and registration, visit http://gamultisports.com/old-capital-triathlon/.

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