Duathlon promotes intense, but friendly, competition

On Saturday, April 5, anticipation was in the air as people of all ages prepared themselves for the hours that awaited them. Participants used the last minutes before the starting gun fired to stretch, practice and give their bicycles a final check. Coming from near and far, a crowd ranging in experience and age gathered at Derby Ridge Elementary School in northeast Columbia for a common goal: to make it to the finish line at Columbia’s MaxTrax Duathlon.

“I really appreciate that I can come here and not feel like I don’t belong,” said Columbia native, Jahne Struby. “I think there’s a really nice camaraderie when you come to these events.”

This was Struby’s second time participating in the MaxTrax Duathlon where she entered the short course for her given age division. The short course consisted of a mile and a half run, seven and a half mile bike ride, followed by another mile and a half run. For those interested in more of a challenge, a long course was offered consisting of a mile and a half run, 15 mile bike ride, and finished off with a three mile run. Struby placed fourth in her short course age division.

For mother-daughter duo Andrea Rogers and Sara Williams, the event offered an opportunity to spend a morning enjoying each other’s company in a competitive environment.

“We were just talking about how much fun it was,” Williams said. “It was hard, but it was fun.”

Events such as the duathlon can be difficult to find, and both Rogers and Williams traveled nearly three hours to participate. Rogers finished first in the long course for 25-29 year olds, earning a gold medal. Williams finished fourth in the long course for 50-54 year olds, earning a bronze medal. At the end of the day, both said they were proud of their accomplishments.

Joseph Madden, of St. Louis, is no stranger to competition. This was his thirdtime at Columbia’s MaxTrax, and he has been running in marathons and duathlons for several years. Madden said this was one of his favorite events to participate in and added he will definitely be back for next year’s duathlon.

“It fosters community and allows people to come out and cheer,” Madden said. “It helps to promote good community and stewardship in the neighborhood.”

To become involved in Columbia’s next duathlon or to learn more information about the event log on to ultramaxsports.com/maxtrax/‎