Women’s Biathlon is About the Journey, Not the Destination

More than 600 women have participated in the SportsCare Women’s Biathlon over the past three years – and all of them can say they have won. That’s because the event is not about who crossed the finish line when it’s simply about completion.

In its fourth year, the Women’s Biathlon is a noncompetitive biking and running/walking event intended to be more of a bonding experience for women than a stressful, high-intensity race. With its focus on health and camaraderie, the event attracted nearly 300 women last year — many of whom had rarely, if ever, participated in an organized athletic event.

Susan Hampton of Springfield has participated in the event with a coworker the past three years and intends to participate this year as well. Though Hampton is very active and enjoys a healthy lifestyle, she had never participated in an event like the biathlon until 2008.

She said if she can do it, anyone can.

“I’m not an athlete – I’m an active person,” said Hampton, who prefers to walk during the running portion of the event. “Don’t be intimated if you can’t run; I’m not a runner — I’m a walker.”

The biathlon is an open race course consisting of a 20k (12-mile) bike ride and a 5k (3.1-mile) run/walk, or a relay option where one participant bikes and the other runs.

“It’s geared to be a starter event, for people who want a healthy lifestyle,” said Cassie Clemens, co-director for the biathlon. “Because it’s not competitive, it’s a very laidback environment. It’s about completion, not competition.”