Student to take on Ironman challenge

Photo by Valerie Brown.

Valerie Brown

Photo by Valerie Brown.

Rachel Hagenbaugh

For one Kent State student, Sept. 11 won’t just be about the past.

Bill Volchko, senior marketing major, will be competing in Revolution3’s second annual FullRev triathlon at Cedar Point. The athletes will have 17 hours to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles.

“Reasonably, my goal is to complete the race in 12 hours, but my ultimate goal is to finish the race in ten hours and thirty minutes,” Volchko said.

Volchko began thinking about competing in triathlons in June 2010. He used to play sports in high school. Competing in triathlons was a way to stay in shape and compete again. Volchko competed in his first triathlon in September 2010. He swam .4 miles, biked 12 miles and ran 3.1 miles.

“I really enjoyed the atmosphere,” Volchko said. “Everyone accepted me and was really friendly before and after the race.”

vFor his second race in May 2011, Volchko swam 1.2 miles, biked 56 miles and ran 13.1 miles. He said he spent a lot of time training for the swimming portion of the triathlon during the winter months. When spring came, he began running a lot more with a friend who was training for a marathon.

“That really got me into enjoying the long runs,” Volchko said. “It helps having someone there with you to push you.”

During the 56-mile bike ride, Volchko said he fell, scraped his leg and lost his water bottles. He was riding downhill at about 24 m.p.h. when he hit a patch of dirt on the side of the pavement. He was the only one to fall in the race and did not meet his goal of finishing the race in five hours and 20 minutes.

“For a while it affected how I biked, but I got over it,” Volchko said. “I had to.”

Bob Murray, one of Volchko’s training partners for the Revolution3 race, said the fall didn’t phase Volchko, and he bounced back quickly.

“He’s a very good climber, so the bike is probably his strongest point,” Murray said. The trainers were very important to Volchko and stuck with him through his entire training. He said his training was sporadic, but one of his trainers helped set up a schedule for the longer bike rides and runs.

Both of his trainers were really competitive. They were always saying “fifteen more minutes” or “one more mile.” The motivation his trainers gave him helped him push his boundaries.

Murray said they swam about six miles a week at Twin Lakes. Murray and Volchko swam outside because it’s more enjoyable, and it trains them to swim in different weather elements.

Volchko said he alternates long bike rides and runs every other weekend. During the week he swam, ran and biked any time he felt the urge to.

About three weeks leading up to the race he cut back on a lot of his training. Volchko said holding himself back and not training as long was the hardest part of the whole process.

The day before the race Volchko will get the chance to meet with professional triathletes. The professionals will run the same race Sept. 11, but the winner will receive a cash price of $16,000.

In Volchko’s case, it doesn’t matter what the prize will be for placing in his age group. He said he will be competing with approximately 10 others in the 20-to-24 age group. If he places, he said the best part will be the expression of the people he trained with and his family and friends who came to see him finish the race.

Murray said he expects Volchko to do well in the race because he’s enthusiastic and competitive. He has an outstanding work ethic and always wanted to go out and train. Murray said Volchko always showed up on time and kept him motivated to keep going.

“No matter what happens, it was a great journey,” Murray said, “and we had a lot of fun.”

Contact Rachel Hagenbaugh at [email protected].