April 09, 2014

Triathlon, boat regatta on course for April 26

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  -- Creativity, athleticism and tradition will blend together when two popular long-running events return to Southern Illinois University Carbondale on April 26. 

The 31st annual Doc Spackman Memorial Triathlon and the 41st annual Great Cardboard Boat Regatta will offer excitement for participants and spectators.  Both events will take place rain or shine, and admission is free for spectators.  The events are family friendly and alcohol-free. 

The triathlon, which begins at 8 a.m., consists of a 385-yard swim, five-mile bike ride and two-mile run that begins at the campus boat dock.  Participants must sign in between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. and supply their own equipment.  The race is open to individuals or three-person teams, with each team member completing one portion of the race.     

The event is open to competitors of any age although parents must sign a waiver for those younger than age 18.  Teams with members who have a combined age of 104 or below will compete in the junior division, while those with a combined age of 105 or above will be in the senior division.  

The registration cost is $35 for individuals or $50 for teams.  Late registrations are $45 for individuals or $60 for teams on the day of the race.  The competition is limited to the first 25 teams and 300 individuals to enter. 

The pre-registration deadline is 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 24, at the Student Recreation Center Membership Services Office.  Online registration is also available by going to www.active.com and searching for “Spackman.”   

There are awards for the top male and female winners as well as the top three finishers in each men’s, women’s and youth individual age groups.  Plaques will go to the top junior, senior and specialty teams in the men’s, women’s and co-recreational divisions and the male or female wheelchair division winner. 

The triathlon honors the late Robert “Doc” Spackman, a longtime SIU athletics trainer and nationally known physical fitness expert.  Plans are underway to move the triathlon to the fall.  The first fall race is Oct. 4 and details will be available in August. 

For more information about the triathlon, contact Jason Davis at 618/453-1275 or by email at jasondavis@siu.edu

After the triathlon, the Great Cardboard Boat Regatta races start at 1 p.m.  Registration begins at 10 a.m. at the campus lake boat dock. 

The event on campus lake will feature fun activities all afternoon.  Alpha Chi Sigma, the campus professional chemistry fraternity, is the current regatta organizer with assistance from Carbondale Tourism.  The event started in 1973 as a freshman art and design class project by Richard Archer. Through the years the event has drawn more than 4,000 competitors and more than 2,000 schools and organizations around the world have staged their own versions of the regatta. 

The participants’ goal is to is simply to navigate a cardboard watercraft around the course on campus lake without sinking.  There are a variety of competition classes including mechanical, paddle boats and boats built on-the-spot the day of the contest.  Awards and trophies will go to the top three finishers in each category and to the most creative entries.  There’s also a Titanic Award, given in honor of the most spectacular sinking.  The regatta also features a youth division. 

If you don’t feel like building a boat at the race, Alpha Chi Sigma is offering 7-foot by 8-foot sheets of cardboard for $3 each in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the James W. Neckers Building.  Call Mary Kinsel at 618/453-6428 to arrange pickup.  Registration is $15 per boat, payable at the regatta. 

More information about the boat regatta is available by emailing Kinsel at cardboardboatregatta@siu.edu or online on the Student Recreation Center’s website.