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Competing In Triathlons Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

As the popularity of the sport continues to grow, athletes are finding more affordable ways to compete.

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As the popularity of the sport continues to grow, athletes are finding more affordable ways to compete.

Seven years ago Lucy Danziger, the editor in chief of Self magazine, was looking for a way to get excited about exercise again. She had been running almost daily for years, but a marathon had left her with painful shin splints, and she was tiring of her routine.

“I needed a gentler way to work my body and also something to combat the boredom I was feeling,” she said recently.

Her solution was to train for a triathlon. The combination of running, biking and swimming helped her lose 20 pounds in six months. It also reinvigorated her. At 51, she now has 25 races under her belt, and a whole lot of company.

The popularity of triathlons has surged in the last two decades, despite the contest’s rigor. Annual membership with USA Triathlon, the domestic governing organization for such competitions, climbed to 135,000 in 2010 from around 15,000 in 1993.

The New York City Triathlon, which was held on Aug. 7, has experienced similar growth: 3,000 people signed up for this year’s event, compared with 683 in 2001. John Korff, the event organizer, said the race wasn’t well known at first.

“The popularity was one step ahead of bocce, and it was a lot of elite athletes,” he said. “But now the interest has exploded, and we see a more diverse range of participants, including many first timers.”

A triathlon might evoke images of a costly Lance Armstrong-style bike and an expensive gym membership for pool access. But preparing for a race doesn’t have to empty the wallet. The New York region has plenty of jogging and biking trails, and a fancy bike isn’t necessary.

Read more: Nytimes.com