IN STEP WITH | Corky Pike Triathlon aids growth physically

Corky Pike is a part-time staff member at the YMCA, teaching water aerobics, spinning and triathlon. She also started and organized the Tri-County Tri Club, a group of triathletes. She is also a personal trainer at the YMCA and a certified triathlon coach by the United States Triathlon Association. She returned to college and is close to completing her requirements for degree. All this while raising six children. Recently, Vindicator sports reporter John Kovach interviewed her.
What is a triathlon?
A triathlon is a three-event competition of swimming, bicycling and running held in that order and in three divisions: Sprints -- under-half-mile swim; 12-20-mile bike and about a 5-kilometer-to-4-mile run; Olympic -- .9-mile swim, 28-mile bike and 10-K run; Ironman -- 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and 26.2-mile run.
How popular is the sport of triathlon?
This sport is growing rapidly in popularity (the first one was in 1977). There are so many races right now. The races in Ohio you can pretty much go to the day of the event and get in them. But the big races are closed after 2,000 applicants, and you have to sign up for the races a year ahead of time. They are filling up so fast, they are turning people away and there are waiting lists.
Tell me about the triathlon club.
It has been in existence for three years. We have 10 members. We also have non-members who are interested in the organization. Anyone who wants to join the club is welcome. We get together as a club at the YMCA downtown on Friday nights for swim practice from 6:30-8 p.m. That's when the majority of them come to swimming practice. They also make arrangements to bike and run together. You don't have to be a member of the YMCA to be a member of the club. We also have a swim practice Monday morning at 5:30.
What's this year's schedule?
Our first triathlon this year will be in June at Deer Creek, Ohio. It will be a sprints division triathlon. There is one race every month in Ohio. We are hoping to participate in 10 triathlons this year, but it would be nice if we could do 15.
What do you like best about triathlons?
It's the camaraderie with people. When you get three elements -- swim, bike and run -- you get to meet a mix of a people. I love to win and I have a lot of medals, but it's the social aspect of the sport that I like the most.
What about holding a triathlon here?
I would like to bring a triathlon to the Youngstown area in the near future.
Why did you get a late start in college and a career?
I had six children, that's why I started college late, and because I actually didn't feel in my profession that I needed college. But with my kids grown, I realized that the door would not be closed from any profession if I had a college degree.
How did you get involved in triathlons?
As a young girl, I wasn't involved in sports or physical fitness. But about 24 years ago, I was watching TV about the Hawaii Ironman triathlon. I saw a woman in it and realized that a woman could do it. That stuck in my head. That is the first time I thought about physical fitness. I went to running, then biking, then swimming came along with biking, and then I got deeper and deeper into the sport. I have been a personal trainer for the past 10 years. I did my first triathlon nine years ago. The sport grew as I grew into it.
Where did you get your triathlon training?
I went to Colorado Springs, Colo., three years ago at the Olympic Training Center. The training was done by the United States Triathlon Association. It's the only certification for a coach to coach triathlon. I am a Level I coach. There are three levels. I cannot get my Level II until I graduate from college, which is next year.
What would Level II enable you to do?
To obtain the Level II, I will go back to Colorado Springs to take more training. Level II will give me the opportunity to work with more professional coaches and have a hand being involved. I will get more knowledge organizing teams. Level I just skimmed the surface, Level II goes deeper into it, including nutrition. With Level II, I would be able to coach and train athletes officially for the Olympics.
What are your career objectives?
I would like to coach an athlete to get into the next Olympics. I am training one individual who has the potential. I am interested in adding new clients who would be interested in training for the Olympics. And I am interested in adding any clients who would need a personal trainer.
What are your triathlon objectives?
What I would like to do is work with athletes and to start to develop youth triathlon clubs. We have one at the Y. The youth triathlon will be July 20. Youth triathlons have been held there a few years. Maureen Horvath is in charge and I will be helping her. Maureen started the youth triathlon program.

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