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A push now may be worth two in summer

For some, it was a preview of what’s to come in the future, while for others it was just another way to stay fit. Whatever the case, the word "challenge" came up often as a way to describe the ninth annual Winter Y Triathlon at the Austin YMCA on Sunday.

"It’s a way to give people a challenge in time," said Kristi Stasi, the YMCA’s fitness director. "It’s a challenge to themselves (the participants). They do this and might move on to other, longer events."

The triathlon, open to YMCA members for a $25 fee, drew nearly 40 participants ranging in age from 10 to 60. Space used to be limited based on the number of cycles, but the response to the triathlon was enough for Stasi to alter the event slightly to include two waves of activities.

The three events in the triathlon were running, cycling and swimming. The majority of the athletes performed those tasks in 20 minutes, 40 minutes and 20 minutes, respectively. Some of the athletes looking for even more of a challenge took part in longer times of 30, 60 and 30. There were a few first-timers, and some, like Sam Skogeboe, who have participated in prior years.

"I’ve been doing this kind of thing for 30 to 35 years," said Skogeboe, a 64-year-old retiree. "It’s a good way to get ready for summer in the off-season. Maybe it’ll inspire people to get encouraged to do something similar."

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Skogeboe’s biggest hurdle was swimming, which he hadn’t done much of since he was a kid, but he prepared by doing laps in the time leading up to the triathlon. Another participant, Annie Avery, said she was out of her comfort zone altogether, and that was the point.T he Winter Y was her way of testing herself for larger things to come.

"I’m thinking of doing a regular triathlon this summer," Avery said.

Since the events were timed equally, there was no winning over other athletes, and the triathlon reaped no prizes for participants except for the customary long-sleeved T-shirt. Being competitive with others was not the goal of the triathlon, according to athlete Danny Ruroden.

"Maybe being competitive with yourself," Ruroden said. "The prize is just to complete it."

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