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story.lead_photo.caption Brandon Shrader, recreation superintendent for the Batesville Community Center and Aquatics Park, stands in the center’s fitness room. The Inaugural Indoor Triathlon is scheduled for Sept. 22 in the center, and the biking will be done on exercise bicycles. Registration can be completed online at To get a T-shirt, the registration deadline is Tuesday. - Photo by Staci Vandagriff

— The Batesville Parks and Recreation Department wanted a unique event that would bring people in to see the city’s new community facility and do some good at the same time.

The Inaugural Indoor Triathlon, scheduled for 8.m. Sept. 22, was the result.

“We opened this facility last year, and we kind of wanted to do a triathlon of some sort,” said Brandon Shrader, recreation superintendent. “There are a lot of outdoor triathlons, but we wanted something a little different that would draw the community and showcase this beautiful facility that we have.”

The $21.8 million Batesville Community Center and Aquatics Park opened in 2017 after the passage of a community-development tax initiative in 2012. The center has approximately 8,000 members and averages 700 people per day using the facility.

Director Jeff Owens was the one who suggested the indoor triathlon.

“I’m one of those crazy triathletes, and I’ve run some indoor ones,” Owens said, adding that those events were in Illinois and Missouri.

The only other indoor triathlon he knows of in Arkansas was in Jonesboro, he said.

“It’s the first one ever to be done in Batesville. I know that.”

Owens said his ultimate goal is to improve the health of Batesville residents.

“I think for me, the money and membership, that’s an afterthought. This is something to get people moving, maybe get people excited about doing multisports,” he said.

The triathlon will consist of a 200-yard swim, a 6-mile bicycle ride and 1 1/2-mile running portion in which all legs will be timed for each participant or relay team. Waves of 10 will begin every 30 minutes, starting at 8 a.m. Event check-in and packet pickup will begin at 7 a.m.

The run will be performed on the track, and the indoor pool is available for the swimming portion of the event.

However, the biking will be done on 10 stationary bikes used for spin class, Shrader said.

“Swimming in a pool and being on a spin bike give you a sense of being safe, rather than having to go swim in a lake or river that might stop people from doing it,” Owens said. “The thing that stops people from doing a triathlon is the swim.”

Shrader said an indoor event eliminates the weather factor, too.

“We don’t have to worry about swimming, biking and running in bad weather,” he said.

Registration is $20 per person and can be done online at until 5 p.m. Sept. 21. To get a T-shirt with “Just Tri It” printed on it, registration must be completed by Tuesday.

Proceeds from the race will go to the community center’s swim team, the Batesville Elite Swimming Torpedoes. The program is funded by a monthly registration fee.

“We’re going to be going to some USA meets, [and proceeds will be used for] swimming equipment, whether fins or swim caps, to help take that financial burden off parents,” Shrader said.

Awards will be given to the top two male and female participants in each of the following age groups: 14 and under; 15-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54 and 55-plus, along with the top three male and top three female overall winners.

A medal will go to the top finishers in all age groups.

“They’re pretty fancy medals,” Shrader said. “We’re going to try to do something that’s got the [triathlon] logo on it. We’re trying to make an experience out of it.”

Male and female relays are also available for the inaugural event, Shrader said.

“You can have one doing bike, one doing swim, one doing the run and kind of tag off,” he said. For more information, contact Shrader at 870-698-2427 or

Shrader said registration is going well.

“We’re excited about it,” he said.

Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or


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