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Have you ever wanted to run, bike and swim a triathlon without having to actually run, bike and swim for three straight hours? At the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City, members who want to experience the rigors of a triathlon over a longer period of time can sign up for the Idle Ironman fitness challenge.

“The Idle Ironman challenge covers the distance of an Ironman triathlon over 31 days: 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking and 26.2 miles running,” explained Sara Robinson-Holmes, the health and wellness/membership director at the YMCA Healthy Living Center-INTEGRIS, a branch of the Oklahoma City Y.

Beginning September 30, members start working out, with customized plans for the number of sessions they’ll complete at the Y and a specific distance they’re supposed to cover per workout.

And if an individual wants to complete more or less distance than a total triathlon, or would like to focus more specifically on running, cycling or swimming, the Oklahoma City Y has plans tailored to those needs.

“Each participant gets to work with a wellness team member at our YMCA to create an individual completion plan,” said Robison-Holmes. “Half-distance triathlon, Aquabike (swim and bike), Duathlon (bike and run) and double distance plans are available. We give weekly participant progress updates in the facility, and all participants receive an Idle Ironman T-shirt with paid registration.”

2019 will mark the sixth year the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City has hosted the Idle Ironman challenge, and it has become one of the association’s most unique and popular fitness challenges.

“This challenge began in 2014 and we have hosted it annually since,” said Robinson-Holmes. “It began in an effort to launch a year-long calendar of wellness challenges to inspire members to set and achieve goals.”

The Idle Ironman challenge has accomplished its goal of engaging members and creating an environment in which they can strive for something seemingly impossible — like covering the distance of a triathlon.

“The biggest benefit to our members is a sense of engagement and community beyond their Y membership,” shared Robinson-Holmes. “It encourages all levels of fitness to set new goals and reach to achieve them.”

And as Idle Ironman participants cross the finish line, the Oklahoma City Y is able to use the challenge’s popularity to turn prospective members into dedicated members, according to Robinson-Holmes. “This program helps us to move the dial on the overall membership experience, taking the member from a casual YMCA participant, to an engaged YMCA member,” she said.

Bobby Dyer

Bobby is the former editor of Community Rec Magazine.

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