Scott McCron is primed and ready for the ninth annual St. Joseph Island Triathlon next month.
And true to form, the local 25-year-old local man is changing things up as he seeks a different challenge in 2012.
McCron is the defending international duathlon champion at the St. Joe event.
Last year he outpaced all other participants to finish seven minutes ahead of the nearest competitor in the international duathlon, which consists of a one-kilometer run, 40-km bicycle ride followed by a 5-km run for the final leg.
Next month he’ll enter the sprint triathlon, a shorter race that has a swimming component.
Why will he race in a different event this year on Saturday, Aug. 18, in Richards Landing?
“For variety. To change it up,” McCron says.
The sprint triathlon consists of a 750-metre swim, a 20-km cycling leg and ends with a 5-km run.
“It’s more of a challenge,” he says, primarily because it will require him to complete a swimming leg during the race, which he admits is the weakest part of his “game.”
“I love all sports. I wasn’t shy to do swimming either. I even enjoy doing that, even though it’s kind of slow and hard for me,” he said.
“It shouldn’t be bad because 20 km is pretty short for cycling, and a 5-km run is pretty short. And a 750-m swim, it’s my weakness, but it’s not too bad.”
Challenging himself hasn’t been a problem for the former Sir James Dunn student.
He began competing at the St. Joe event as part of a relay team when the island meet was first staged in 2004.
In 2007 he participated for the first time as an individual and placed first in the sprint duathlon, and also finished first in the sprint in 2008.
The sprint was made up of a 5-km run, a 20-km bike ride, and a 2.5-km run.
In 2010 McCron was again near the front of the pack when he finished second in the international duathlon, the same event he won in 2011.
In some ways the sprint races are tougher because participants must go nearly flat out the entire race, compared to longer endurance events where competitors are often more concerned about pacing themselves.
“I’m kind of used to both speeds. I’ve trained for both of them,” McCron says.
But he admits to training differently in the run up to the 2012 St. Joe race.
“I’m doing more swimming, but I’m still trying to get biking in. I don’t want biking to slip … Some days I go for a swim and a run. I’m spending a little more time at it.”
McCron completed Sault College’s health and fitness course last year, but has been unable to find full-time work in his field.
However, he’s been busy early in the race season. He already participated at the Starker-Man Duathlon in Gaylord, Mich., in early May, where he finished fourth.
He won the 5-km Mountain Maple Run on St. Joe Island at the end of May, and was seventh in the annual Run the Great Lakes (half-marathon) in early June.
McCron says the “friendly competition” brings him back year-after-year to participate in distance events.
There are several local competitors he looks forward to going up against at events.
“I really enjoy right now doing the sprint duathalon and the sprint triathlon, and the medium-distance races,” he says.
What’s his goal heading into the island event?
“Hopefully, to finish top three. I’d be happy with that.”