September 26, 2014

Spackman triathlon offers new time, events

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s popular Doc Spackman Memorial Triathlon is undergoing some changes this year. 

A significant difference is the event, generally held each spring including this past April, is moving to the fall. There will also be a longer, companion race in addition to new and fun activities. 

The 32nd triathlon is Saturday, Oct. 4, at the campus boat dock.  The Classic Race, what used to be the traditional Spackman event, is a 350-meter swim, five-mile bicycle ride and two-mile run that starts at 8 a.m.  The new Long Course race will cover distances that are twice as long on all three segments and begins at 9 a.m. 

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 competing one portion of the race.  

The deadline for early registration is 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2.  You can sign up at the Student Recreation Center’s membership services office. Advance registration is also available online at by searching for “Spackman.” 

The registration fee for the Classic Race is $30 for individuals or $50 for teams; Long Course entry fees are $50 for individuals or $80 for teams.  Late registration is available on race day, although the fee is $10 higher.  The competition is limited to the first 25 teams and 300 individuals to register. 

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

Winners in the various age groups will receive awards for the triathlon named in honor of the late Robert “Doc” Spackman, longtime SIU athletics trainer and nationally recognized physical fitness expert. 

The triathlon will also feature two all-new events:  a children’s fun run and a paddleboard challenge.  Children of all ages can participate in the free, half-mile children’s fun run beginning at 10:30 a.m.  The“Stand Up Paddleboard Challenge” is at 11 a.m.  Paddleboards will be available on site for the timed race.  Registration for these two events is also on site on race day and at no cost. 

For more information about any of the Spackman activities, contact Jason Davis at 618/453-1275 or by email at  

The Great Cardboard Boat Regatta, held in conjunction with the triathlon in recent years, will remain a springtime event.