By Erin Crowell
Running is hard. So are triathlons, the multi-sport event that
combines running, swimming and biking into one race. Now, imagine
those disciplines spread out through the course of one weekend.
This is the Starkermann Challenge a three day, four event race that
starts with a run on Friday, a triathlon on Saturday morning, 20- to
40k time trial bike ride on Saturday evening, wrapped up with a
duathlon (run, bike, run) on Sunday morning.
Think youre up for the challenge? Youll get your chance May 14-16 in Gaylord.
The race lives up to its name Starkermann translates to strong man
in German, a word that describes both male and female athletes that
take on the entire race weekend. However, participants have the option
to compete in individual events and/or compete on a relay team.
You can pick and choose, says Kenny Krell of 3 Disciplines Racing,
the company that handles and coordinates all aspects of the race.
Its definitely something for both beginners and seasoned athletes.
Those options include two competition levels: the more advanced
Starkermann and the Starkermann Junior, with distances geared toward
the beginner competitor. Friday evening hosts a one-mile seed sprint
for Juniors, a 5k seed run for Starkermann. On Saturday morning,
athletes hit the Gaylord Sportsplex pool for a portion of the
triathlon, which includes a 2.2 mile run, 20k bike and a 400m swim for
beginners; a 4.4 mile run, 30k bike and 400m swim for Starkermann.
Saturday evening is a 20k time trial bike ride for Juniors and 40k for
Starkermann. The challenge ends on Sunday morning, with a duathlon:
one mile run, 10k bike, two mile run for Juniors; 5k run, 30k bike and
5k run for Starkermann.
Events take place all over Gaylord, at venues that include the Otsego
Club, Tree Tops Resort and the aforementioned Sportsplex.
One of the most challenging areas of the course includes the hill
behind Tree Tops Resort Alp du Huez, as the locals call it, says
Dr. Donovan Adendorf, a chiropractor at West Bay Chiropractic in
Gaylord, and five-time Starkermann participant.
I havent done the whole challenge, but the bike portion is the most
challenging thing in Michigan, Adendorf says.
The South Africa native says Starkermann helps him prepare for the
triathlon season, a summer that includes at least one Ironman (2.4
mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) and two to three triathlons
Im really slow, Adendorf says modestly. Starkermann kicks the
season off for all of us in the north.
We designed the whole thing so it would prepare people for the
upcoming race season, he says. For example, last year we had sleet
and snow and it was 28 degrees. The lowest wind was 20 miles per hour.
A bunch of people emailed us and said, I didnt know what you meant
by preparing us for the season, but now I know! They start
remembering everything they went through in Starkermann.
Weather is always part of the challenge. The race consistently runs in
unpredictable weather patterns, mostly held in freezing temps and
during some type of precipitation.
Starkermann never has great weather, says Krell. In all the years
weve hosted and the years I participated, I can only think of one
time that it was nice.
Krell participated in Starkermann before he took on the fulltime job
of running 3 Disciplines, a race company thatalong with the Gaylord
raceis host to 50 multi-sport races a year, held throughout Michigan
and across the country.
Krell and partner Annmarie Kern started 3 Disciplines eight years ago,
launching the company in Arizona and bringing it back to their home
state of Michigan. Now, the company calls Gaylord home, an oasis from
the hectic world of racing.
We have a summer home up here and three years ago we came up after
one of the races. I said to Annmarie, I just have to live up here,
says Krell. You just feel calmer and less stressed.
Athletes from around the country will invade Gaylord on the weekend of May 14.
Last year we had around 200 athletes and represented five states,
says Krell. Its a weekend where theres typically not much going on
in Gaylord, so its great having a group coming for an entire
Krell says whether youre a weekend warrior or at the top of your
class, Starkermann is a race that has something for everyone.
Ready for the challenge? Register for the Starkermann Challenge,
happening May 14-16 in Gaylord, by visiting 3disciplines.com and
clicking on the events tab. Email your questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 231-546-2229.