AQUABIKE COMPETITION: NO NEED TO RUN to compete or train. Aquabike is not a product. It’s a competition. Think triathlon without the run. This rapidly growing multi-sport event seems to be the refuge of the community of triathletes who find they cannot or don’t want to run.
In addition, the sport provides an opportunity, called ‘race-specific’ training, for athletes to test themselves in the bike and swim sections of a triathlon while saving their running legs for the actual triathlon event. So says Chuck Graziano, who is quoted on the USA Triathlon ‘About’ page which explains the Aquabike competition. Graziano is past chair and current member of the Age Group committee, a USAT Board Member, and an aquabike athlete
Older runners are likely to intuitively ‘get’ this sport. Because they are likely to know how difficult it is to train and race faster as they age without incurring injury. Increasing speed means increasing ground reaction forces, especially on the knees. And an article by Ian McMahon for RunningCompetitor.com discusses scientific evidence which indicates running more slowly doesn’t necessarily mean that less impact force will be experienced by the knee.
Kathleen Hughes, aged 60, is one such competitor who has discovered Aquabike. In the Wall Street Journal she writes about her motivation to qualify for this event and how she eventually earned the right to wear the official outfit “with my name on the butt" for Team USA.
There isn’t much written about this sport that I could find online. The facts, provided by Hughes in her article, explain why we might be seeing more about it; participation in triathlons is decreasing and increasing in aquabike. Running USA has been advising the running industry that, in a similar manner, finishers in road running events continues to decrease.
The reasons for declining participation in running events are not known. It’s possible that part of the decline may be due to runners cross-training and ‘cross-competing in sports to preserve their joints and legs to insure a future that includes some running. That seems like a reason in which race directors should find comfort.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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