Audacious Athletes Rise to Physical Challenge

Triathlons combine swimming, biking and running for the ultimate test of strength and endurance.

Triathlons combine swimming, biking and running for the ultimate test of strength and endurance. (cnn.com)

If the word “triathlete” conjures up images of bulky, fitness-obsessed, hyper-dedicated athletes, then a certain group of Santa Clara students may surprise you. In this competition, some students are trying a sport for their first time. Others have never been committed to exercising more than once or twice a week. However, this didn’t stop students from all levels of fitness from participating in a full-distance triathlon this spring.
The Iron Bronco brings on-campus exercise to a new level, challenging teams of up to three students to complete a full triathlon over the course of two short weeks.
For some students, the prospect of running 26.2 miles, biking 112 miles, and swimming 2.4 miles seems daunting. But for others, the task is an exciting contest to push themselves physically.
Junior Jackson Palmer successfully completed his first Iron Bronco on May 5th.
“I had been meaning to incorporate more cardio into my workout routine,” said Palmer. “I had already been doing interval training on the stationary bike, so Iron Bronco provided a great incentive to keep up with my biking and add some other kinds of regular cardio as well.”
The ultra-distance triathlon has been a tradition on campus since 2001. Every spring quarter, dozens of Broncos sign up and get moving to accomplish what takes almost two miles of running, eight miles of biking and almost a quarter mile of swimming every single day to complete in time.

Jackson Palmer spent his fall quarter abroad in London before returning and being inspired to kick his workout regimen up a notch.
Jackson Palmer spent his fall quarter abroad in London before returning and being inspired to kick his workout regimen up a notch.

“The hardest thing is doing multiple kinds of cardio on one day, because typically I just do biking or running after a workout,” said Palmer. “The other hard part is doing the cardio in addition to classes, work, homework, and my normal lifting routine. It’s just more than I’m used to, but it’s not terrible and I feel great at the end of the day,” he said.
For students like Palmer, the real challenge didn’t lie in dragging themselves to the gym every day. Rather, trying something new such as swimming made for an entirely new exercise regimen that could be difficult to get used to. According to Palmer, increasing the amount of exercise he did meant also altering the amount of food he ate, and making other lifestyle switches to accommodate the new routine.
Just under 200 Santa Clara students hit the finish line this spring, all of whom received tank tops and t-shirts to commemorate their success. But the real reward for many was simply feeling accomplished and increasing their fitness levels.

-Summer Meza

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