Athletics: Successful TWU triathlon returns for sixth edition

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Beginning with a 300-meter swim followed by a 26-kilometer bike ride and finishing with a 3.1-mile run, the sixth annual Pioneer Power Sprint Triathlon hosted by the TWU soccer team will provide more than just an arduous physical challenge.

The USA Triathlon-sanctioned event is scheduled to begin at 6:45 a.m. Sunday, and the proceeds will benefit the soccer team.

“Each team at TWU is required to raise $5,000, and the soccer team gets it all done in this triathlon,” said TWU athletic director Chalese Connors. “Some teams do summer camps and some raise money through apparel sales. It has grown to be quite successful and people keep coming back. It’s very rewarding.”

Head soccer coach Fleur Benatar has been involved with the triathlon since its inception and thinks it will provide more than just a helpful boost to the team’s scholarship fund.

“It’s a win-win situation for everybody,” Benatar said. “It gives the girls power to see the other athletes, and the triathletes enjoy that the money goes toward the students. It definitely is good for bonding and it motivates them to work hard.”

Benatar, who has competed in triathlons, was instrumental in the TWU triathlon’s success, Connors said.

“It germinated from our head soccer coach,” Connors said. “She was looking for a fundraiser and she has had experience competing in them as well. She brought it to me and said let’s do a triathlon. The first one was very successful and it has grown from there.”

Race director Dan Jones of Dallas Athletes Racing and TWU have partnered up for the past three years, with a total of more than 1,500 racers participating in the first five triathlons.

The event draws athletes from all over North Texas and Oklahoma, Jones said, and has had a solid turnout from Denton clubs.

“We get a lot of UNT athletes from the triathlon club, and it’s been a pretty strong club around Texas,” Jones said. “We have a good relationship with them. Over the years we have revamped the run and bike course. This year is going to be really good.”

Dallas Athletes Racing puts on other themed races in North Texas, including events in Denton such as the Old College Tri in September and the Monster Denton Tri in October.

“When we put on a triathlon, we want two things,” Jones said. “We want it to be competitive and we want it to be a lot of fun. It should be comparable with some of the better races. The city of Denton is great to work with. They support the event, and we get help from the officers on the bike routes.”

The race begins with the 300-meter swim in the 50-meter TWU Fitness and Recreation Center’s outdoor pool. Then, with the help of the Denton Police Department, the athletes will take their 16-mile bike ride through the scenic hills along FM428 before culminating in the 3-mile run beginning at the TWU golf course and ending at the Hubbard Hall oval in the center of the TWU campus.

“They [Dallas Athletes] are a great company and they put on a great show,” Benatar said. “The campus is perfect. We bring a lot of people on campus. There are a lot of locals that participate along with TWU staff members. I think on a college campus benefiting their college team is pretty unique. The players enjoy it. The athletes all encourage each other.”

A postrace party is being held and will include live music along with refreshments, awards and vendor booths. Competitors will receive a “tech shirt,” performance socks and a medal.

Participants interested in registering for the triathlon can do so from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at CK Sports in McKinney.

PATRICK HAYSLIP can be reached at 940-566-6873. His e-mail address is phayslip@dentonrc.com.


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