Once upon a time, a great man in Indianapolis was arrested for ALLEGEDLY swimming in the canal. Normally, this would be in the news for a day and quickly disappear. However, things tend to be a bit more newsworthy when you’re one of the best punters in the NFL. I’m of course talking about Colts punter and comedian Pat McAfee, who, five years ago, was just taking a quick dip in the Indianapolis canal, likely trying to cool off from a hot streak of winning with the Colts. I am here to tell you that there’s an easier to way to swim in the canal and NOT get arrested- Tri Indy!
Last weekend, I participated in my fifth and so-far favorite sprint triathlon here in Indianapolis, and I had a blast. Tri Indy is put on by Tuxedo Brothers, a fitness event management company that manages many of the races that occur in and around the city. Tri Indy offers both Olympic and Sprint distances, as well as a duathlon option for those who don’t like swimming.
I often get questions about the distances of triathlons. Sprint triathlons usually consist of a 500 meter swim, between a 10-15 mile bike (Tri Indy was a 20K, which comes out to about 12 miles), and ends with a 5K run. Olympic distance triathlons are made up of a 1500 meter swim, a 25 mile bike, and a 6 mile run. Distances can vary race to race, but that’s the general scope. Duathlons replace the swimming aspect with a run, so it’s a run-bike-run format.
Triathlons are my favorite races because they are internally focused. Of course, there are very competitive racers, but for those who are interested in participating, I find the atmosphere to be very welcoming, encouraging for amateurs, newcomers, and veterans alike. Watching the many different racers is one of the most motivating sights you’ll ever see. My goal for my first triathlon was just to get through it and finish. From there, I aimed to improve personal times. I like the idea of only being concerned with improving myself and my outcomes. Sure, the top athletes are very competitive, but there’s room for every level of racer in a triathlon. I’m hoping to graduate to Olympic triathlons next summer.
Tri Indy is a great race because the canal is fairly clean- I know you’re all staring at that sentence with disbelief, but it’s true. It’s a big difference between swimming in a pool versus open water, and I’d suggest trying to acclimate yourself with the change by doing at least one open water swim to get a feel for it. The bike of Tri Indy is a fast and flat course, with a lot of great scenery. The course starts along the White River, and moves its way north to the Major Taylor Velodrome, then snakes its way back down the White River Parkway. There’s a good amount of shade and a lot to look at, which makes the biking portion fly by. The final portion of the tri, the run, is a loop around the White River, including the River Promenade outside of the Indianapolis Zoo. The beautiful views of Downtown Indy landmarks will fill you with pride for this city, and will leave you breathless (and not just because you’re exhausted).
Walking along the canal last week, I couldn’t help but smile, knowing that I was one of the privileged few who got to hop in the canal and take a little swim. And luckily, I didn’t need to worry about my arrest record.
If you’re interested in participating in Tri Indy, or any sprint or Olympic triathlons around Indianapolis or Indiana, check out TriFind.com and the Tuxedo Brothers website. I hope to see you at the next race!
Written By: Molly Sender