Eric Bradley isn’t all that fond of running, so the Aquabike is the perfect event for him.

Sankalp Bhatnagar hasn’t been able to swim much since moving to Columbus, so the Duathlon is a convenient event for him.

The Aquabike (a swim-bike combination) and Duathlon (run-bike-run), along with the Aquathlon (swim-run) and 10K and 5K runs are new events in this year’s Columbus Challenge Triathlon. Competition begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at Tipton Lakes Marina.

“Running just isn’t getting much investment for me right now,” Bradley said. “I think it’s an awesome thing to have people who are doing the different events to have these specialization events. There’s such a great energy out there.”

The Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons will still be the staple of the 21st Annual Columbus Challenge. The sprint is an 800-meter swim, 16.5-mile bike and 5K run; while the Olympic distance triathlon consists of a 1,500-meter swim, 24-mile bike and 10K run.

Athletes now have the option to pick any two of the three disciplines at either the sprint or Olympic distance level. For people who just want to run, there’s the 10K and 5K.

“This is a way to keep people involved with the event that can’t come out and do all three,” race director Jen Shaver Morrill said. “I’ve worked with a lot of athletes over the years, and maybe somebody’s injured and can’t run, or they aren’t able to swim. The more events we can offer, the more opportunities there are for people to compete.”

Bradley has done the Columbus Challenge triathlon three times. He was the swimmer on last year’s winning Olympic Distance relay team.

This year, Bradley is training to swim the English Channel as part of a four-person relay team on Sept. 22.

Bhatnagar, who recently moved here from India, will be competing in his first duathlon.

“I was planning to participate in the triathlon this year, but I didn’t get a chance to prepare for the swimming part, and I used to run and cycle a lot,” Bhatnagar said. “I’m excited because I’ve not participated, but I’ve been there to cheer my friends last time it was happening. I know it’s an exciting event, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Relay options also will be available for the triathlon and duathlon for both sprint and Olympic distances. Participants in all events must be at least 14.

Morrill said the triathlon has had about 400 participants every year and is hoping for 500 this year. Online registration has closed, but athletes still can register from 5 to 7 p.m. today and 6 to 7:30 a.m. Saturday at Tipton Lakes Marina.

“I’m excited to expand the race a little bit and really give people an opportunity to participate,” Morrill said. “It’s fun. It’s a community event. Hopefully, we’ll increase participation and get more people out.”

At a glance

The Columbus Challenge Triathlon will be at 8 a.m. Saturday at Tipton Lakes Marina. Registation is available from 5 to 7 p.m. today and 6 to 7:30 a.m. Saturday at the Marina.

In addition to the sprint and Olympic distance triathlons (swim-bike-run), this year’s event will include a Duathlon (run-bike-run), Aquathlon (swim-run) and Aquabike (swim-bike). Cost for those events is $55 for sprint, $70 for Olympic distance and $105 for triathlon and duathlon relay teams.

There will also be a 5K and 10K beginning at 8:30 a.m. Cost for both is $25.

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Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5628.