Women for Tri encourages women to become triathletes

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Meet Cindy Erickson, an Okemos resident who has supported women in triathlons. Photo by Julian Stainback.

Cindy Erickson likes to surround herself with strong women. She is the ambassador for Women for Triathlon, a program that encourages women to join triathlons.

The program hosted an information session at the Playmakers’ community room in Okemos. It featured a small lecture on triathlons as well as a Q&A for the women. About 60 women were in attendance.

“You don’t need to have expensive sportswear or a training program to start training for triathlons,” Erickson said. 

The program was launched in 2015 by the IRONMAN foundation. Since the program launched, it has gained grants to help support future efforts in women’s participation. 

“Anyone can do a triathlon,” said Laurie DeYoung, an Oak Park triathlon team facilitator. DeYoung emphasizes that the formation of support systems will eliminate barriers that come with joining triathlons. 

According to CoachCox.com, there are more men in triathlons than there are women. 

“There is only 27% of women around the globe that are in triathlons,” Erickson said. “That’s a high number, but it could be better.”

There are three triathlon teams in Michigan. The three are located in Oak Park, Lansing, and Portland, all of which are predominantly women teams. Oak Park’s team has a kids’ team as well. 

“We encourage teen girls to join Oak Park,” said Ashley Murray, Oak Park’s triathlon facilitator. “It’s all about exposing them to what available to the Lansing area.”

Oak Park Tri team trains at their local YMCA. They train by biking, running and swimming. 

During the Q&A, many of the women’s questions ranged from things like intimidation and confidence issues to the best way to train. One woman asked about the best ways to train. 

With over 60 women in attendance, the Q&A panel gave the women an opportunity to express their concerns as well as other questions about triathlons. Photo by Julian Stainback.

“Whether it’s swimming or biking, you can train in any way,” said Alexa, another coach for the Oak Park team.  “You can find exercise regimens that support you in any way.”

Many 0f the coaches said that biking is one of the main ways to train for a triathlon. Photo by Julian Stainback.

The Q&A was a success, as it gave teens who were at the event the motivation to participate in a team. 

“We highly encourage teen women to join triathlons,” said Laurie DeYoung, the facilitator for the Portland team. 

Here are some quick facts about women’s participation in triathlons. Infographic by Julian Stainback.

Shortly after the Q&A, attendees were given networking opportunities in the sport. 

To learn more about Women for Tri, you can visit its website

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