Injuries derailed Brad Hardy from competing in the Duathlon National Championships. Now fully recovered, the Westport resident will add swimming to his competitive repertoire when he competes in the first TargeTraining Sherwood Island Sprint Triathlon on Sunday.
"I wanted to sponsor the charity, and it gives me an opportunity to do an event in town,'' Hardy said. A portion of the proceeds goes to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center Pediatrics Department. The race is a half-mile swim, 13-mile bike ride and 3.1-mile run. The race's bike route will take Hardy near his home.
Hardy, a former college volleyball player, has been a TargeTraining member for nearly five years. He also competes in time trial cycling. He planned to compete this year in his first duathlon, a run-bike event, before soreness in his hip forced him to back off from his training.
He has done triathlons in training. The real experience, however, can't be simulated. "The biggest difference is going to be the swim,'' Hardy said. "You have so many more people, you're banging into each other, you're getting kicked in the face."
He has the least experience in swimming of the three disciplines. "My strategy is to survive the swim and then my real goal is to see how much opens up between me and the rest of the age group,'' Hardy said. "I think I might be able to make some ground on the bike."
Triathlons are a much different competitive outlet from Hardy's high school and college days. A Toronto native, he played in national and provincial championship tournaments. He quit in college to focus on academics. He maintained fitness with recreational sports. It took time, however, to get back into a competitive mode.
"I think it did take a little bit of time to relight that fire,'' Hardy said. "I'm not the type of person that can work out without an end goal in mind. Riding my bike in road races really helped me improve my focus. The great thing at TargeTraining is you can be recreational athlete or a competitive athlete. The coaches are supportive of both types."
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