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Duathlon, Biathlon: What's in a Name?
Talking Tri-/Duathlon for Ordinary Mortals®: A Series
Last February, as I’m sure many of us were, I spent my time watching the Winter Olympics. One of the events I came across was the women’s biathlon. I recalled watching a men’s biathlon years ago, but this was a rather different event. In the latter, competitors skied a cross-country course carrying a rifle on their backs. At points they would stop at a target, take shots, accumulate scores, and then proceed on the course. Winners were determined by a combination of skiing speed and shooting accuracy.
In the women’s biathlon at the Sochi Games, the routine was different. Competitors would ski the cross-country course, but several times they would come into a large stadium in which a series of shooting sites, corresponding to the number of racers, were set up. Doing what amounted to a transition, each had to take their target rifles off their backs, lie down with their skis on, line up their targets and then shoot until they made the required number of hits within the target zone. That total time was then added to their skiing time. With highly advanced electronics, viewers could watch the results of the shooting for each competitor. They would then proceed for another lap of skiing. A complex, fascinating event that made me think back to the origins of our run-bike-run duathlon, and how it got its name when in the beginning it too was called the biathlon.
This series of thoughts and recommendations for beginner and recreational triathletes and duathletes by Dr. Steve Jonas is drawn in part from his book, 101 Ideas and Insights for Triathletes and Duathletes (Monterey, CA: Healthy Learning/Coaches Choice, 2011), text used with permission. The book can be purchased here and is available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
Steve’s most recent multisport book is Duathlon Training and Racing for Ordinary Mortals®: Getting Started and Staying with It (Guilford, CT: Globe Pequot Press/FalconGuides, 2012), available at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. The text above is drawn in part from Chap. 1 of that book.
His original book, Triathloning for Ordinary Mortals®, 2nd Ed. (New York: WW Norton, 2006) also can be found at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.