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And a One, and a Du and a Tri . . . Race Series Returns

June 15, 1995|RICK VANDERKNYFF | Rick VanderKnyff is a member of The Times Orange County Edition staff. and

In a triathlon, participants run, bike and swim. In a duathlon, competitors typically run, then bike, then run again. And never--at least, almost never--do the twain meet.

The exception is a quirky little event that debuted last year at Camp Pendleton, raising enough interest to return in 1995 as a three-race series with a whimsical title: Do the Tri, Tri the Du.

It starts Sunday and returns with the same format July 30 and Oct. 1. The field will meet on the sand; when the starter gun sounds, the duathletes will embark on a two-mile run, while the triathletes will romp into the surf for a half-mile swim. They'll converge and compete head-to-head for the last two parts of the race, a 30K bike ride and a 5K run.

Organizer Russ Jones of San Clemente says it's the only event of its kind in the country. Duathletes and triathletes often train together, he said, but they never get to compete against one another.

Some multi-sport athletes, of course, do both duathlons and triathlons, and they'll be faced with a decision: Which can they do faster, a half-mile swim or a two-mile run?

The main logistics challenge Jones faced was finding a race distance that would level the field for the competitors. In investigating the record books, Jones said he found the distance ratio, run to swim, to be about 4 to 1. Ten minutes is a time that top competitors can achieve in both the half-mile swim and two-mile run (the swim course may be adjusted to compensate for conditions).

The system works. Last year's event, which drew a healthy 425 with little advertising, found the top finishers in the various age categories spread evenly between duathletes and triathletes.

While he plays up the competition, Jones says the event is planned in a spirit of fun. To keep participants around after the race, he has set up some events to kill time before the awards ceremony.

One is a "dizzy Izzy" run, in which runners must sprint 50 yards--after spinning 10 times with their foreheads on a baseball bat that stands on the ground. The other is a "slowpoke buoy swim," in which competitors can use anything from fins to webbed hand paddles. It's open only to those whose overall time was slower than 90 minutes.

Participants in Sunday's event will get a Lycra singlet, while supplies last. On-site registration will be offered from 7 to 7:45 a.m.; athletes can register by mail (call for the address) for the last two events in the series.

* What: Do the Tri, Try the Du triathlon/duathlon.

* When: Sunday, 8:30 a.m. (registration opens at 7 a.m.)

* Where: Club Del Mar, Camp Pendleton.

* Whereabouts: From Interstate 5, head south from Orange County, exit at South Harbor Drive and enter Camp Pendleton at the main gate. Follow the signs to Club Del Mar (you may be asked to show car insurance documentation at the gate).

* Wherewithal: $60 (advance registration for future events in series is $45).

* Where to call: (714) 240-8547.

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