Sprint Triathlon runs through Moscow

Fitness event encourages anyone to participate in annual race to showcase healthy lifestyles of all types



Brian Hannibal, from left, Elliott Sher and Tiffany Portue, all students at the University of Idaho and members of the Vandal Cycling Club, celebrate their win Saturday morning at the Palouse Sprint Triathlon in Moscow.

CHLOE GRUNDMEIER, Evergreen reporter

The Palouse Sprint Triathlon allowed anyone on the Palouse to participate in an attainable race through Moscow on Saturday. Participants started with a 500 yard swim at the Hamilton-Lowe Aquatics Center, followed by a 15K bike ride through Moscow and a 5K run back to the finish line at the Aquatic Center.

“It’s great for first-time triathletes and desirable for competitive and elite triathletes as well,” co-director Nate Spain said. “The new triathletes get to participate at the same time as these elite athletes, even if they learned what a triathlon was six months ago.”

Spain got involved with the Palouse Sprint Triathlon in 2012 when he decided to participate as a “response to a bit of a mid-life crisis,” he said. He quickly got hooked, participated for several years in a row and worked with the planning committee to become co-director this year, as he was so excited about the triathlon.

“The triathlon illustrates how attainable a healthy lifestyle is to anyone,” Spain said. “I went from always being on my couch and on the verge of needing medication for my health to participating in a 5K program by virtue of training for the triathlon.”

A sprint triathlon is a good starting point for triathletes as it is the shortest of the four general types of races, according to TheActiveTimes.com. A sprint length race generally includes a 750-meter swim, a 20K bike ride and a 5K run, compared to an Olympic distance triathlon with a 1.5K swim, 40K bike ride and a 10K run.

The Palouse Sprint Triathlon shortened the swim and bike portions of the race to make it less intimidating for first-time triathletes, Spain said.

University of Idaho senior Jackie Davis had never participated in a triathlon before but always wanted to try. She had to train for the entire summer before feeling confident enough to compete.

“I was pretty nervous about the swim,” Davis said. “I actually had to learn to swim for the triathlon. But it was really fun, and once I got off the bike and started the run I felt like I could actually do it, I could actually finish.”

The training aspect of the triathlon can be intimidating, but is also one of the more beneficial aspects, Spain said.

“The training helps with having a healthier lifestyle, not just physically but mentally as well,” Spain said. “Exercise is an incredible stress reliever and releases endorphins that help with things like depression and self-doubt.”

At the finish line, a small group of community members gathered to cheer on the racers — all of them. All participants and attendees knew the feat everyone was completing. Countless times, people said “good job” to strangers and discussed how they “felt really strong” during the race.

“The Palouse Sprint Triathlon is really beneficial to the community because every shape, size and age has the ability to complete and compete in this triathlon,” Spain said. “I love seeing their nerves right before the swim to the exhaustion and pure joy after they cross the finish line as the community cheers for each other.”