Slacklining, triathlon attract athletes to Rec

Slacklining, triathlon attract athletes to Rec

By Tyler Davis

Whether swimming, biking or running, Recreation Center attendees were able to test the waters with a plethora of events during the weekend.

Friday night featured “Slack Off at the Rec,” a free event presented by Outdoor Pursuits, which included kayaking, slacklining, stand-up paddle boarding and water volleyball. The event took place in the Edward J. Shea Natatorium at the Recreation Center and drew in more than 50 participants during the two-hour event.

With just a signature, SIU students, community members and even students from other schools were allowed to join in the activities.


One participant made the journey from Southeast Missouri State University for the event. Levi Rhodes, a sophomore at SEMO, attended the event, participating in slacklining and paddle boarding. Rhodes, who never paddle boarded before, said he really enjoyed the atmosphere.

“My friend Robert, who goes here, told me they were having a slackline,” Rhodes said. “It was pretty fun, they have a good crowd. What is great is everyone seems like they were really enthused about it.”

Saturday brought on the 17th-annual “Rec Your Body” triathlon. As one of few indoor triathlons in the area, for $15, participants ages 18 and older can compete. Participants under 18 needed a parent’s signature in order to compete.

Cay Gerlock, parts store manager for the Department of Automotive Technology and the adviser for the triathlon club, said the event has brought on a wide array of competitors because of the age and ability level of contestants.

“The nice thing about our tri is that it’s really good for beginning students,” Gerlock said. “This year we’ll probably have a record number of beginners. We’ve also had a man start it when he was 81 years old and a woman start it when she was 82.”

The annual triathlon is broken down into 13 age groups and divided into four groups based on ability level. Awards are given to men and women in each age group and the three top scorers overall. Scores are determined by a point system which awards points for total distance covered over the course of the three sections.

Competitors swim for 10 minutes in the pool, spend 20 minutes on a stationary bike and run for 15 minutes around the 200-meter track, completing as many laps as possible.


Gerlock said many people use the triathlon to train for longer events.

“We have had stellar athletes over the years,” Gerlock said. “A large number of the people who do our triathlon go do larger events on a regular basis. We’ve had men and women both do Ironman distance races in the last couple of years.”

One of the entrants who used the competition for training was Brant Caronongan, an alumnus from Mount Vernon. Caronongan said he has competed in team triathlons before, but this was his first time doing a full triathlon by himself.

“I think it was 2008 or 2009, I did the team triathlon with [Gerlock],” Caronongan said. “I did the bike portion, she did the swim and somebody else did the run so after that it was always in the back of my mind that, ‘Hey, you know what? I can probably do this.'”

Caronongan said he plans to do an outdoor event later this year.

“Actually I am thinking about doing an Xterra this summer,” Caronongan said. “I’m going to have to get some swimming and running in so I figure with three months of preparation, yeah, I would do another triathlon.”

“Rec Your Body” is a prelude to SIU’s other triathlon, the Doc Spackman, on April 26. This year’s Doc Spackman will honor the late Robert “Doc” Spackman, a longtime athletic trainer at SIU.

Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected], on twitter @tdavis_DE or at 536-3311 ext. 269