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Penn Campus Recreation hosted its 3rd annual PENNTRIathlon on Feb. 26 at the Pottruck Health and Fitness Center. Credit: Luke Chen

Penn Campus Recreation held its third annual PENNTRIathlon at the Pottruck Health and Fitness Center.

The indoor triathlon, held from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m., consisted of a 3.1 mile run, a 12.5 mile stationary bike ride, and 700 meter swim. 30 students, staff, and faculty participated in five "waves" consisting of six people each.

The PENNTRIathlon aims to give the Penn community an opportunity to participate in a fitness challenge during the winter months that is both competitive and welcoming, according to Matt Livziey, the Assistant Director of Aquatics, Adventure, and Risk Management at Penn Campus Recreation. Originally a five-event PENNtathlon that included rock climbing and rowing, it was changed to a triathlon in 2019 to garner more participation.

“Hosting indoors allowed us to pilot this event with the hopes of encouraging the Penn Community to come out and have some fun, while also challenging themselves,” Livziey said in a written statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian. 

The triathlon is open to anyone on campus — regardless of fitness level, age, or experience. 

“This is the perfect event for seasoned triathlon competitors or those who have never raced before and want to get a feel for racing in this type of event,” Livziey wrote.

Lauren Woodie, a postdoctoral student at Penn Medicine, placed first in the female division, while Andrew Gray, a first year in the College, placed first in the male division. They both received a prize pack which included Penn gear.

Woodie said that she heard about the event from various posters at Pottruck and participated because she wanted to begin biking and swimming in addition to running. 

“I’ve been trying to transition from just running into doing triathlons for about six or seven months now, so this was a perfect opportunity for me to test how well that training is going and then get prepared for some outdoor races in the summer,” Woodie said.

Gray said that he was motivated to participate in the PENNTRIathlon as a part of his training for the Ironman triathlon, which he began preparing for last summer. 

“I like doing triathlons," Gray said. "I came here to see if I could win and beat everybody else." 

Jonathan Crescenzo, a research engagement coordinator for the Graduate School of Education, said that he saw the triathlon as “a goal to work towards.” He trained for a few weeks before attending the event.

Participants overall said that they found the triathlon to be a positive experience. 

“It was better than I thought," Engineering sophomore Sylvia Mihailescu said. "An indoor triathlon didn’t sound like a great thing, plus with masks on, but it was actually pretty fun and they organized it really well."

For Stephanie Pfahnl, also an Engineering sophomore, this was her first indoor triathlon.  

“I’ve never done an indoor triathlon before, so it was kind of a new experience, but it was pretty fun overall,” Pfahnl said.

Karen Glanz, the George A. Weiss University Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine, said that she has been participating in triathlons for almost thirty years, and has taken part in the PENNTRIathlon for two years. 

“[The triathlon] was well organized and has lots of support," Glanz said. "It’s a good event."

Livziey added that seeing different participants complete the triathlon despite their challenges is what makes organizing the event worthwhile.

“It is a great moment when you have a competitor who has never done a triathlon, or a similar event, and they finish their last lap of the PennTRI. Seeing that joy and sense of accomplishment they feel is always a rewarding moment,” Livziey said.