April 19, 2007

Spackman triathlon, boat regatta set for April 28

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – The annual Splashin' Saturday, which incorporates two long-popular activities, is set for April 28 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Recreational Sports and Services and the Splashin' Saturday Committee will host the 24th annual Doc Spackman Memorial Triathlon and the 34th Great Cardboad Boat Regatta at Lake-on-the-Campus.

The Doc Spackman Memorial Triathlon includes a 385-yard lake swim, a five-mile bicycle ride through campus and a two-mile run on a path circling the lake. It starts at the Lake-on-the-Campus beach on the south side of the lake. Athletes from youth to seniors will compete in numerous individual divisions based upon age and sex. There's also a division for wheelchair athletes and team category for men's, women's and co-ed teams, with each team member tackling one leg of the triathlon.

The race honors the memory of longtime SIUC athletic trainer Robert "Doc" Spackman. Organizers expect about 150 athletes of all abilities to participate. Entry fees range from $15 to $30. Additional information is available at www.siu.edu/rss under upcoming events or contact Kathy Hollister at 618/453-1267, e-mail hollistr@siu.edu. The winners receive plaques.

The Cardboard Boat Regatta is a much-celebrated tradition at SIUC since it began, originally as a creative design project for Richard Archer's arts and design class. More than 4,000 people have displayed their creativity through the years, fashioning boats of all shapes, sizes and designs from cardboard and a few other everyday items. The goal is to create a boat that will make it from the starting line at the Lake-on-the-Campus boat dock to the finish line during the noon race.

But viewers of all ages typically enjoy the "Titanic" entries as much as they do the fast watercraft. The Class I boats are made of corrugated cardboard and are propelled by oars or by kayak or canoe paddles while Class II boats are propelled by paddle wheels, propellers or sails. The final category lets spectators become contestants as they create their very own regatta entries from secret kits provided that morning.

To participate in the "instant boat" competition, arrive between 10 a.m. and noon and pay a $10 entry fee to receive the construction kit. The instant boat race will be the last of the day.

Anyone can participate in Splashin' Saturday and spectators are welcome. Splashin' Saturday is an alcohol-free, family oriented event. The festivities go on rain or shine.