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Ohio University student finds niche as tri-athlete

Nov. 2, 2005
By Melissa Evans

"If someone tells me I can't do something, I just do it," says Ohio University senior Elizabeth Trapp. This determination has gotten Trapp ready and set to compete in the Ironman triathlon this Saturday, Nov. 5, in Panama City Beach, Fla.

The competition involves a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile race to the finish line, "and that's all back-to-back," says the Pickerington, Ohio, native. The Nov. 5 triathlon is a qualifier for the World Championship, which will be held next fall in Kahuna, Hawaii.

The painting major has not always been so involved in athletics.

When she was a freshman in high school, Trapp was not able to run one mile and got a talk about being more physically fit from her gym teacher. After the lecture, Trapp joined her high school cross country team and has been running ever since.

"My freshman gym teacher lives in my neighborhood, so in the summer when I'm out training he'll see me run by his house like six million times," Trapp says. "I don't know if he's put it together yet, but I'm like, 'Take that. Even if you don't know it, I'm showing you up,'" she says laughing.

Trapp says running is her favorite part of the competition, "Even though it's the hardest because it's at the very end, and it hurts and burns. You don't have to think so much when you're running," she says.

Trapp has been preparing herself for the event since May and says she trains for 5 hours a day, everyday. "I'll do like two of the three disciplines a day plus lifting weights and stretching at the end," she says.

In addition to this workout, Trapp has been involved in several other races to ready her for the competition. "I ran a couple of marathons to train and did hundred-mile bike rides and a lot of open-water swimming," she says

Trapp participated in triathlons for the past two years, competing at Duke University each year and has averaged about 14 hours per race. Her goal for this race is 12 hours.

She completed her first Ironman triathlon when she was a sophomore in college. "People don't just do that. I'm one of the handful in the world to do that at 18, and this was my first triathlon," she says.

An estimated 2,000 athletes will compete in the triathlon. Trapp will need to be in the top 4 percent of her age group to qualify for the World Championship and is keeping a level head about her chances.

"I'm sure there are people in my age group, who all they do is train," she says. "If it were a time-based qualification, I think I could do it, but I can only control myself, not other people in my age group."

Trapp says her friends and family have been supportive of her.

"I think when I did it my first time they were surprised because I told them I was going to do it one day, but they didn't know it was going to be that soon," she says. "I think I stress my family out."

Trapp will leave for Florida Wednesday morning with her mother, Leigh Trapp, director of Ohio University's Pickerington Center. She will return Tuesday, the day after her 21st birthday.

"So I'm basically taking a week vacation," she says.

Beaches, birthdays, biking, swimming and running - the core of any good vacation.

Melissa Evans is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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Published: Nov 2, 2005 2:03:58 PM
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