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A spirit that is not afraid

Triathletes go the distance

Robert Bedsole competes in the running portion of age group nationals. (Contributed)
Robert Bedsole competes in the running portion of age group nationals. (Contributed)

"Triathlon--It's not about finding your limits. It's about finding out what lies just beyond them," is a popular quote among triathletes.

The members of the Auburn Triathletes take on running, biking and swimming every week in practice.

Robert Bedsole, graduate student in mechanical engineering, is the president of the student organization.

He and other members take part in triathlons throughout the year-round season.

"People with varying interest levels are in the club," Bedsole said. "Some people want to go pro, and others are in it just for fun."

Auburn Triathlete members won both the university male and female first-place titles this weekend at the Hickory Knob State Park in South Carolina.

Jay McCurdy won the university men's race with a time of 02:07:48.

Samantha Clark won the university women's race with a time of 02:29:18.

Bedsole said Auburn Triathletes isn't officially recognized by the University as a club sport because mandatory practices aren't required.

"My training schedule varies from week to week," said McCurdy, graduate student in agronomy and soils.

A mixture of running, swimming and biking is part of the training.

McCurdy said he runs 17 to 18 miles a week, swims 5 days a week and bikes 4 to 5 days a week.

"You have to do everything, but I tend to focus on my weaknesses," McCurdy said.

McCurdy started his triathlon career about five years ago.

"I'm trying to go pro, so I try to run as many races as possible," McCurdy said.

McCurdy said he got injured and began cross-training, which led to his triathlon career.

"To do it right, you gotta put a lot into it," Bedsole said. "Train as much as you can mentally and physically take."

To be a member of the Auburn Triathletes, a $25 per semester charge to cover certain race fees is required.

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"We looked into becoming a club sport, but it didn't fit our needs," Bedsole said.

Tests are being conducted to evaluate the triathlon system to determine whether it will be a NCAA-recognized sport, Bedsole said.

"The season runs from May 1 through the following end of April," McCurdy said. "The collegiate national championship will take place at the University of Alabama this year."

Although there isn't an official coach for the team, weekly practices do take place.

"There are voluntary coaches that lead practices in one area," McCurdy said. "Also, everyone's level of participation and schedules make team practice difficult."

Clark, senior in nutrition and food science, became a member of Auburn Triathletes her sophomore year in college.

"I've swam since I was four years old, and I swam in high school," Clark said. "I decided to get into triathlons when I came to college."

Clark was conference champion last year of the Southeastern Collegiate Triathlon Conference.

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