I’m thankful every day for finding triathlon. Not only do I love the sport itself, but treasure the people it has brought into my life, particularly my fellow teammates. These are people I probably never would have even met had I not decided to tri. The triathlon community is full of amazingly warm and friendly people who I’ve known to be incredibly generous with their time and their smiles and offers to help with a flat on the side of the road. We come from all walks of life and have varying backgrounds. We may not even have anything in common besides triathlon, but it is still a strong bond and through it we enjoy each other’s company. We’ve swallowed the same lake water, tipped over on our bikes and struggled through hot runs, but we enjoy the struggle together. I can’t think of a better reason to get a relay team together for Barrelman. How much fun would it be to spend a weekend in Niagara Falls, cheering each other on, earning your medals and celebrating afterwards, not just as friends but as a team! In a sport that normally is very individual, it’s nice to share in an accomplishment together.
It may be a little late in the game to decide to do a full 70.3 in a few short weeks if you haven’t specifically been training for it, but I’m positive if you are a member a community nearly as wonderful as mine, you can find a couple of friends with their own special strengths to form an awesome relay team. I have a friend who absolutely loves the swim. To me she is like a mystical unicorn. Who LOVES the swim?! Those unicorns do exist, and if you are one of them or have one of them as a friend, they would be perfect for the swim portion of a relay team. Maybe you are a strong or even averager runner who has been training for a fall half or full marathon. Maybe you’ve simply been enjoying some bike rides this summer or trained for a charity ride. Pick your favorite discipline and look to those around you to fill in the others. Those among us who are lucky enough to have so many training friends and teammates should pretty easily be able to convince a couple of them to go on a weekend adventure together, earn such sweet shiny race swag, all while making memories of your relay weekend that will last a lifetime.
Being on a relay can also be a great physical and mental test. Knowing you have someone counting on you, waiting for you to finish so that they can start their portion of the race may push you further outside of your comfort zone than you would if doing the race all on your own. After all, you only have to do part of the race so you can push harder knowing that your rest is coming soon. Why not give the relay a try and get a taste for just part of what Barrelman has to offer? I’d wager a guess you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll be back to either relay again or take on the entire challenge with friends. Hope to see you there!