JIM PETERS: Valpo triathlete Sandberg to compete in London

2013-06-20T17:00:00Z 2013-09-16T18:51:16Z JIM PETERS: Valpo triathlete Sandberg to compete in LondonJim Peters Times Columnist nwitimes.com
June 20, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

Some people run. Some bike. Some swim.

Others, like Adam Sandberg, do all three.

The Valparaiso High School senior began melding all three activities at age 12, when he did his first triathlon, and is now taking it to the next level.

In September, he will fly to London, where he will compete in the World Triathlon Championships. Sandberg qualified for the Sept. 15 race last August by placing near the top of his age group at nationals in Burlington, Vermont.

But a fast time was only part of the equation to make the trip a reality. In order to afford the trip, including a week's stay with his family, Sandberg had to raise $7,000.

"The main thing holding me back was the funding," he said.

Sandberg registered with the website, gofundme.com, to assist in his efforts, which he also linked on Facebook and other social media. If he came up even a $1 short of the amount, all donations had to be returned. Thanks to some generous pledges, Sandberg recently reached the mark. At that point, he was officially entered in the race, flights were booked and reservations at the family hostel within walking distance of the race site were made.

"It worked out pretty well," Sandberg said. "I'm very surprised. I wasn't extremely confident we would get it, but I'm glad we did. I would've probably still gone on my own, but it definitely wouldn't have been as enjoyable going by myself. We'll be there a few days before the race and a few days after the race, so I'll be able to get used to the time change and do some site seeing."

It seems only fitting that Lisa and Chris Sandberg are able to go. Both used to do marathons, which contributed to Adam's start in running, the first step toward his involvement in triathlons. When classmate Kevin Mangel entered a triathlon several years ago, he followed suit.

"It brings all three (running, swimming, biking) together," Sangberg said. "It equalizes people. You can't win just being great at one, as opposed to running races."

He began in junior races, graduating to sprint and Olympic distances. In Olympic-level races like London, competitors swim 0.93 miles (1,500 meters), bike 24 miles (40 kilometers) and run 6.2 miles (10 kilometers).

"I'm pretty solid across the board, but if I had to pick one, I would say I'm a better swimmer than a runner," Sandberg said. "I usually rank pretty high in my age group in the swim. I've had some knee problems, but my run's getting a lot better."

With the race a little less than three months away, Sandberg has begun to ratchet up his training. He swims a couple times a week, while running and biking about three days a week. He does four to six miles in a typical run, either in town, at Sunset Hill or the Dunes, and bikes 25 to 30, heading south of town on country roads, where he doesn't have to worry about dodging four-wheeled vehicles.

Because courses vary, Sandberg isn't targeting a time for Hyde Park, but hopes to finish well within his age group. He plans to continue to do triathlons as long as his body allows.

"I like triathlon's a lot better," said Sandberg, who has been on the high school cross country and swimming teams. "The atmosphere's great. They're all really good people."

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at jim.peters@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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