Athletes build community within WKU, Bowling Green

Kayla Boyd

Sometimes, just one sport isn’t enough.

This is the case for Lexington sophomore Eric Ebner and Evansville sophomore Nick Yates, foundation of WKU’s Triathlon Club. Ebner currently serves as club president and Yates served as president last year.

Both members joined during their freshman year and Ebner said they have revitalized the Triathlon Club in a matter of semesters. The club currently has 22 active members, a number that far exceeds any other year.

For those who don’t know, a Triathlon is a race in which participants swim, bike and run. On the college level, most of the competitive races are called sprint triathlons, usually consisting of a 750 meter swim, 20 mile bike ride and a five kilometer run performed in that order.

While this may seem overwhelming, Ebner and Yates are quick to assure that it isn’t meant to be intimidating.

Members of this no-cut team train every Thursday at the natatorium in the

Preston Center and every Sunday they bike. Running is a separate entity.

“We have everyone run on their own time,” Ebner said. “Everyone runs at their own intensity and at their own pace.”

Yates said that even though people run at their own pace, they tend to get in sync with other members of the club.

“Some people do run together,” Yates said. “Over time, people find the group that runs at their pace and they can have training partners.”

Instead of simply fundraising to help members with fees, the group spreads awareness of their existence by way of community service.

“The problem with fundraisers is here on campus so many people do fundraisers, it’s really difficult to compete locally for money,” Yates said. “What we’ve been doing instead of fundraisers has been spent on volunteer service and giving back to the community in order to get our name out there.”

Ebner said members of the club rode their bikes up and down designated roads last November during the Total Fitness Connection Mini Marathon for six hours, guiding runners to make sure they stayed on the track.

A lot of the members have just entered the triathlon community, but quite a few have long-term previous experience.

“We have a decent-sized member base who were involved in triathlons far before they ever even heard of the club,” Yates said. “We’re able to take our knowledge and really share with the new members. We’re able to take the knowledge we share and see the new members use it to be able to attain their goals.”

Their main focus right now isn’t coming in first, they said.

“We don’t look at races in terms of winning,” Ebner said. “There are so many new members, for the most part it’s just having people satisfied with finishing with the times that they have.”

So what’s the motivation behind what some might refer to as madness?

“The sport really makes you appreciate others,” Yates said. “A lot of people say because it’s not a team sport, it’s very selfish. I would actually have to say that it’s entirely opposite.”

Yates believes that the competitors want to make each other better athletes, which is something you don’t find in other sports.

“With triathlon, it’s just a community of people who love to help each other, want to build it up and want to see somebody else succeed,” Yates explained. “Even if it means beating them. And that’s just something you don’t find anywhere else.”