Triathlon club offers opportunity for students to compete or complete

“Coaching the Triathlon Club at MSU helps me live my dream as a triathlon coach. I love every part of it. I would also remind everyone that if you want to complete or compete in the sport of triathlon, it takes a certain level of commitment. Some days may be more challenging than others, but if your goals and training plan are set, you can accomplish anything you want. Just like in life.” – Coach Matthew Bryan Parks

“I would like to see continued increases in club athletes, those same athletes competing in the collegiate conference races, and most importantly of course, just having some fun while training with others for the sport of triathlon.” – Coach Matthew Bryan Parks

Tags: Triathlon, club, at, MSU, coach, Matthew, Bryan, Parks, Grizzly, Bobcat, Collegiate, Regionals, Nationals

Facebook Hook: Triathlon Club at MSU looking for new members

According to USA Triathlon coach Gale Bernhardt, the average 180 pound athlete burns 10,000 calories in an Iron Man triathlon. Triathlon is an endurance race involving three different disciplines. The most common form has competitors begin with a swim, transition to a cycling leg, then finish with a run, all in succession. It is a versatile sport that can offer something to both the novice athlete and the seasoned endurance veteran, as the race distances can vary from short endeavors requiring minimal training to long tests of strength that require years of preparation.

A typical sprint distance triathlon features a 750 meter swim, a 20 kilometer bike and a five kilometer run. An “olympic” or “international” distance triathlon doubles all of those figures. In the Iron Man competition, athletes must complete a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, and a marathon run. Triathlon became an olympic event at the Sydney Games in 2000, more recently a paralympic event in 2016 and an NCAA sanctioned collegiate women’s sport in 2015.

The Triathlon Club at MSU, formed in 2012, is a fast growing club sport on campus both in terms of size and competitiveness. The club’s goal is to extend an opportunity for students interested in triathlon to benefit from weekly practices along with training plans and social events. The club features dozens of members with a variety of backgrounds, from those with little experience who are looking for a new challenge, to elite athletes who are competitive on a national level.

“There is always room for the beginner with no experience or the athlete who has extensive experience, as well as everyone else in between,” said MSU Triathlon Club coach Matt Parks, who facilitates weekly swim, bike and run practices. Whether the goal is to compete or complete, all students are welcome.

Parks, who graduated from MSU in 1998 with a bachelor’s degree in Health and Human Development, is a certified USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach with advanced specialization from the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Performance Enhancement Specialist. Parks has been training, racing and coaching triathlon and endurance athletes for 25 years. He was introduced to triathlon and endurance events by his father in the late 80s when he watched him train and race in the Chicago area. He was a part of the club’s inception in 2012, and remains an integral part of the club today, offering free coaching, advice and general expertise to all members.

“Coaching the Triathlon Club at MSU helps me live my dream as a triathlon coach. I love every part of it. I would also remind everyone that if you want to complete or compete in the sport of triathlon, it takes a certain level of commitment,” Parks continued, “Some days may be more challenging than others, but if your goals and training plan are set, you can accomplish anything you want. Just like in life.”

The triathlon club trains all year, with focus on getting members to compete at the Bobcat Triathlon in Bozeman in September, and the Grizzly Triathlon in Missoula in April. More serious competitors can look toward the Northwest Collegiate Regionals race in Sweet Home, Oregon, in September for a shot at qualifying for Collegiate Nationals in the spring. Club president senior Nick Dorsett and freshman Virginia Beineke each took first and fourth respectively at the 2016 regional race, both qualifying for nationals in Clemson, South Carolina, on April 22, 2017.

The Triathlon Club is always looking for new members. “I would like to see continued increases in club athletes, those same athletes competing in the collegiate conference races, and most importantly of course, just having some fun while training with others for the sport of triathlon,” said Parks. Students interested in the triathlon club can become immediately involved by joining the Triathlon Club at MSU Facebook page for daily updates on scheduled practices, training plans, and other club activities. They can also contact coach Parks at matthewbryanparks@gmail.com or club president Nick Dorsett at msutriathlonclub1241@gmail.com for more information. The club runs an Instagram account @tri_club_msu.