As most Northwestern student-athletes are winding down for the season, others at NW are gearing up for their most daring feat of athletic prowess yet.
Seven NW students, including Janelle and Felipe Silva, are in the midst of training for this Saturday’s fifth annual Siouxperman Triathlon in Sioux Center. The idea, according to the online Siouxperman community, which began as a self-described “dream conceived at a lunch table in a local Mexican restaurant during the summer of 2006” has become a reality, boasting more than 300 participants annually.
Senior Janelle Silva got involved this year for the first time. “I wanted to do it because two other girls in the social work program are interning for The Bridge, and they asked me to be on their team. Sometimes the money goes to The Bridge, so I thought I’d give it a try. I thought it’d help me get into shape and maybe appreciate biking more.”
As an effort to raise funds for community organizations like The Bridge, the triathlon is a gathering of dedicated community members and passionate athletes. Their aim is simple: promote community, wellness and organization, and serve the community well.
Another aspect that appealed to Janelle was the team mentality of the race. “I have never done anything like this before, but it’s fun if you can do it as a team,” she said. “I’m doing the biking portion. The other girls are swimming and running. The team aspect is fun; we have a team name and T-shirts. It’s fun to do this with other people.”
Joining her on the course is her husband, NW junior Felipe Silva. Both Silvas are international students, Felipe said, “Our host family is doing it and invited me. I’m excited to be doing it with them as a team. I love sports and competition; it’s an opportunity to be active but also to bless The Bridge.”
Felipe’s team, including his host dad Dr. Mark Turek and 10-year-old Mckayla, has been active in the race since its beginning. “Our host mom, Nancy, has done it every year since it started,” he said. “I’ve never done [a triathlon] as a competition. But I’ve done a lot of biking before.”
Still, some nerves are setting in. “I was super nervous because I hadn’t practiced,” said Janelle. “But Felipe and I went out on Sunday to the course. The wind was terrible, but we went 11 miles. I thought if I could do 11 in this wind, I’m going to be able to do 16 on Saturday.”
The race—a combination of swimming, biking and running—boasts an incredible number of challenges and rewards. “Your team swims 300 yards, bikes 25 kilometers (about 16 miles), and then runs a 5K,” said Janelle. “Afterwards, there’s more fun: lunch and free swimming.” Online, others have called it the “best post-party ever.”
The race begins at 9 a.m. in Sioux Center. Families and fans alike are invited to cheer on participants in what is sure to be a super event.