Hydrophobic runners and cyclists say 'Those who can't tri, du'
Add Philip Jones of Lakewood Ranch to a long list of triathletes who became duathletes. “I just didn’t want to put time into training for the swim anymore,” he says. “Running in the morning and biking in the evening is about all I can do.”
One triathlon was enough to convince Bradenton’s Shannon Whitfield that he should stick to duathlons. “I realized that swimming is not for me,” he jokes. “I can swim to survive, or swim for a cold beer at the beach, but that’s about it.”
MyLinh Nguyen, a Tampa athlete, laughs at the idea of so many three-sport racers becoming two-sport racers. Lots of runners and cyclists hate to swim. “That’s me, too,” she says. “There’s a saying: Those who can’t tri, du.”
Gator Half and Half
This weekend, several hundred <CL9.6>racers will gather at Lake Manatee State Park for the eighth annual Gator Half Triathlon and Duathlon. Thierry Rouillard, who founded the race series, is a former Ironman triathlete from Sarasota. He swam hundreds of miles, preparing for long races, but he understands why others would not.
“I did it to train,” he says, “but I never enjoyed it whatsoever.”
For racers who aren’t runners, there is a Gator AquaBike event, but there are many more traditional duathletes. Hydrophobia is common among endurance athletes.
“I just had a couple from Jacksonville sign up for the triathlon,” Rouillard says, “but they said if the water’s too cold, they’re just going to do the duathlon.”
Nguyen, 35, completed an Ironman triathlon two years ago, so a half-Ironman duathlon should not be that tough. Should it?
“My funny story is that my friend signed us up for the wrong race,” she says. “We were supposed to do the international distance, but he signed up up for the half<NO1>. I’m not very happy with him because my work schedule hasn’t allowed me to train<NO>.” Jones, 69, competes in two or three Florida races each month. He’s a Gator veteran.
“Thierry puts on a good race,” he says. “And the T-shirts are colorful.” Whitfield, 40, is trying to get back into racing shape.
“I got lazy,” he says. “I got content. I’d gotten engaged, so I was doing other things. Now that I’m single and traveling on business, it was like, Let’s get back into it.”
Gator Half Triathlon and Duatholon. 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Lake Manatee State Park, 20007 State Road 64, Bradenton, 9 miles east of I-75. This is the eighth annual Gator Half-Ironman Triathlon, Duathlon and AquaBike. $245 and $265. 539-3756; gatorhalftriathlon.com.