Duathlon popularity is out of control

By Skip

I have been looking into doing a duathlon for a while now.  Given my leg speed and soon to be bike speed, I am being nudged in that direction.

I started doing to some research on the sport and I was shocked to see how popular it is becoming.  Here is an excerpt from the USAT website about the sport:

Thousands of athletes are leaving their goggles and wetsuits at home and focusing on duathlon instead. Though there are six disciplines for multisport athletes to choose from, the popularity of run-bike-run events has surged in recent years.
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Part of the reason for duathlon’s popularity is the exclusion of the swim. Many people are able to simply stay on land to get their multisport fix. “People love to run, and most have ridden a bike at some point in their lives,” said Tim Yount, USA Triathlon’s senior vice president of sport development. “The swim tends to be the part people are most intimidated by since it entails so much of the unknown.”

Now, I am not afraid of the water but it is not my strongest of the three disciplines.  There are some really fast swimmers out there and I am not one of them.  I can stick with the middle of the pack just fine… but then again, I am not a “middle of the pack” kind of guy, now am I?  Come on… I know you know the answer to that one!

For me, it’s all about the numbers.  I want to really know how I am going to do and what I need to do to train to that level.  So I went to the USAT website and pulled the Duathlon short course results for 2008, 2009 and 2010.  I then pulled up the men’s 40-44 age group results.  I am going to list 1st place and 18th place for each year (the cutoff for Team USA qualifications…. hint, hint) and I think you will be amazed as to how FAST these races have gotten!  This is for a 5K run, 35K bike and 5K run.

AG Place
Clock Time
Run1 Time
Run1 Pace
Bike Time
Bike MPH
Run2 Time
Run 2 Pace
             
2008              
1st 2:04:13 36:05 5:49 1:10:19 21.2 16:22 5:16
18th 2:26:04 44:13 7:07 1:15:57 19.6 23:30 7:34
             
2009              
1st 1:54:27 34:38 5:35 1:01:34 23.0 16:38 5:22
18th 2:05:27 39:03 6:18 1:05:41 21.6 19:07 6:09
             
2010              
1st 1:33:24 16:44 5:24 0:57:35 24.6 17:22 5:36
18th 1:41:47 17:51 5:45 1:03:58 22.1 18:20 5:54

Almost an 30 minutes taken off of the overall time of the first place position between 2008 and 2010???? Really?  These are some really fast guys!  I now know what I would have to compete against.  I am curious to see the results for 2011 to see if the trend continues.

I think quite a bit of it has to do with all of us getting into triathlons because it was “the thing to do” and has been a middle age catch phrase for a few years now.  I think that once we have all gone through a season or two and decided to stick it out for the long haul, wants to refine their skills and sometimes that means changing sports.

What are your thoughts?  Have you done a duathlon?  Is it something that you loved or hated?

Here is the link to that article that I quoted from above:  WEB LINK

Filed in: Biking, Duathlon, Running, Triathlon • Monday, February 7th, 2011
 

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I was never really the athletic type. Sure, I played tennis in high school (and quite well, mind you) but running CERTAINLY was never my thing!

The start of 2009 was big for me as I came to the realization that I had put on too much weight over the past 10 years (read more...)