Organizers of an indoor triathlon say planning is well under way, with a large group of participants expected this year.
The fifth annual Fort Dodge Indoor Tri, sponsored by the Fort Dodge Community Recreation Center and Fort Dodge Transport, will be held on March 2.
Craig Jarrard, one of the triathlon's organizers, said the event was designed as a way for anyone to participate.
-Messenger file photo
A swimmer doing laps at The REC becomes a blur as she goes past one of the depth markers alongside the pool. Swimming is one of the events included in the upcoming indoor triathlon.
"The purpose originally was to give people something to do in the winter when the weather's not as warm to be outside," he said. "This gives everybody the opportunity to train, whether they're seasoned athletes or beginners."
This year, Jarrard said the age for children participants has been lowered to 9 years old.
"It's an opportunity for adults and kids to put a team together and work out as a group," he said.
The triathlon, which will be held at the Community Recreation Center, has seen its popularity increase over the past five years.
"Last year we had over 150 people in the triathlon, and over half of them were kids," Jarrard said. "There's also going to be a health fair in the gym and business opportunities to promote healthy lifestyles."
Jarrard said the event is also popular with non-participants.
"We had about 500 spectators last year," he said. "In all we had about 750 people at the REC center."
That number includes volunteers that help out with organizing and making sure the day runs smoothly. This year more than 50 volunteers are expected.
"They've always been amazing," he said. "It's also a great way for the REC center to show off their facility and gain new members."
Jarrard said people of all skill levels are encouraged to participate.
"Most of the people who come actually are beginners," he said. "In fact, we've noticed that after their first year participating, many will come back the following year."
Training sessions are also being offered for participants.
"We'll have adult training on Jan. 22, and the kids training has been set for Jan. 29," he said.
That training will be held at the REC center.
Jason Major, another Fort Dodge Indoor Tri planner, said transportation will be provided for children participants.
"We'll have it available from after school to the REC center," he said. "We've looked at every obstacle for parents that have kids involved so they won't have to worry about their children getting to training."
Major said the ticket sales will be capped at 200.
Jarrard said some past participants have gone on to more intense events.
"We've had athletes who eventually went on to compete in half-marathons," he said. "People who have started with no skill level have turned it into a lifestyle. For us, that's the cherry on top."
Tickets are available online at fortdodgetrisport.com or through the Fort Dodge Community Recreation Center.