This stems from the Triathlon Digest (Feb 25) in which there are responses to a
Mr. Klingensmith who reputedly suggested cutting back duathlon to help
triathlon. My thoughts are that they are both sports that require extreme
fitness and are equally difficult and deserve the same amount of respect. The
only difference is that in a triathlon you swim first, in a duathlon you run.
There are, I suppose, two trains of thought on this: 1. Since the upper body
is not used in the race, it must be easier, and 2. That since the legs are used
more, it must be harder. It seems to me that the races are the same in
difficulty. At the finish of a triathlon I am tired all over, at the finish of
a duathlon, my upper body is less tired, but my legs are killing me. Also, the
mental strain of knowing I have to run again makes things a little tougher
mentally. Thus, at least to me, it seems the difficulty is the same.
With regards to participation it seems that (as I seem to recall reading in the
editor's page in an old Triathlete) has more potential growth than triathlon.
Everyone can bike and run, swimming makes people nervous. Thus, don't cut back
on duathlon to expect to help triathlon participation is not a good idea. A
problem arises, however, when a new athlete comes to a duathlon feels inferior
to those who swim. At the Clif Bar Series here in Ohio, which has a
simultaneous duathlon and triathlon, while there definitly is NOT an official
attitude like this, it seems to happen amongst the athletes; "oh, I'm just
doing the duathlon" has often been heard. These aren't the experienced racers
saying this, its the newbies. Perhaps this is meant to get them to try
triathlon. But if they don't want to (can't swim, don't want to), feel
inferior, why should they come back?
Politically, duathlon has also been slighted, perhaps because of the above
attitude. The Powerman people have been the only ones fighting for this branch
of multisport racing. I have to say, however, that the ITU (flawed as it is)
seems to be helping duathlon by allying (sorry, can't spell) itself with the
Powerman folks. Duathlon Worlds is a solid race (be better if it wasn't
draft-legal, but so would triathlon) and seems to garner enough attention from
the ITU. USAT, unfortunatly, seems to be behind on this front. Assuming
duathlon is every bit as valid a sport, has similar numbers of participants in
the Worlds race why should the coverage given to it be miniscule compared to
triathlon??? The US seems not to appreciate duathlon, thinking its only for
triathletes who can't swim. Let me say this, I can swim, I just don't like it!
All I can say is that there should at least be a duathlon committee.
To conclude, gone long enough I think you'll agree, I have to say that both tri
and du are both very difficult valid sports and those who participate in either
are accomplished athletes. I just take issue with those who think triathlon is
the only real sport. Let's just get back to racing multisport and help
Paul Keen (junior duathlete)