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Athletes swam, ran, cycled in H-F Racquet & Fitness Club annual triathlon

Nine athletes participated in the 13th Annual Indoor Triathlon at the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club on the morning of Sunday, Feb. 27. They swam laps in the pool, ran on the treadmills and rode the bicycle machines for an hour of cardio.

The winner of the triathlon was Homewood resident Kristen Salkas, the participant who ran, swam and biked the most total miles in 60 minutes. Salkas swam 625 meters, rode the bicycle for 10.49 miles and completed a 2.76-mile run.

“This is my third or fourth year doing this race. Last year I did it while I was pregnant. And I got a seven-month-old at home now,” Salkas said. “I wouldn’t miss this race for the world!”

  • Triathlon winner Kristen Salkas competes in the swimming portion of the event. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)
    Triathlon winner Kristen Salkas competes in the swimming portion of the event. (Nick Ulanowski/H-F Chronicle)

Fitness club membership wasn’t required for participation in the triathlon. The workouts were 10 minutes of swimming, 20 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the indoor bicycle.

“If you’re a good cyclist, you definitely do better in this race. And if you’re a good swimmer, it doesn’t count for as much,” Salkas said.

Standing at the pool, fitness club volunteers Angela Fedele and Obehi Ihaza counted the swimmers’ number of laps. Sitting in chairs on the side of the pool, volunteer Sidney Bester had a time sheet for keeping track. Fitness club employee Dylan Freund, the timekeeper, sat with a whistle ready to let the swimmers know when their 10 minutes were up.

The athletes were given 10 minutes to change before switching to the bicycle machines in a different area of the building. While they rode the bicycles, youth volunteer Noelle Holt and Homewood-Flossmoor High School Key Club members Joshua Fajardo and Kamilah Muhammad sat nearby with timesheets. They corrected recording distances, kept the athletes aware of time remaining and sanitized the equipment after each wave.

Program supervisor Brian Davis gave the riders “a one-minute warning” before their time on the bikes was up. 

Jim Burke said he road 9 miles on the bicycle, going above and beyond his goal of 5 or 6 miles.

After riding the bicycles, participants were given another 10-minute break before moving on to the treadmill. Holt and James Hart School National Junior Honor Society member Mikaela Lockwood sat nearby with timesheets for this event.

“This is my fourth triathlon. It’s fun. I do it for completion,” Cori Williams said, suggesting that the achievement of completing an hour of cardio is what matters to her. “It’s a good workout. The only struggle is the 10 minutes you have from the pool to the gym area.”

Celestine McGee said this was her second time participating in the triathlon and she travelled to it from Chicago’s Bronzesville neighborhood. She said a member of her church who lives near Homewood told her about the event. 

“Swimming is working your entire body because you’re doing the arms, the legs and you’re trying to practice on the breathing,” McGee said. “I think that’s why it’s harder – and why it was first with the least amount of time.”

Program supervisor Davis described the annual event as a “great way to get a really cool race in indoors when it’s 20 degrees outside.”

The H-F Racquet & Fitness Club, 2920 W. 183rd St., is part of the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District.

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