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Strand to compete in Duathlon World Championships

Chris Strand is a relative newcomer to competing in duathlons.

The 25-year-old picked up the sport at the beginning of the summer and has only competed in one event. While he is not the most experienced of duathletes, the Mitchell native has accomplished a great feat.

While competing at the Apple Duathlon in Sartell, Minn., Strand qualified for the 2013 ITU Duathlon World Championships in Ottawa, Ontario., which is scheduled for Aug 10.

"I wasn't necessarily expecting to qualify for the worlds right away," Strand said, adding his wife, Megan's, relatives urged him to participate.

A duathlon is similar to a triathlon but has one major difference. Both events feature running and biking but a triathlon also has swimming.

Several years ago, Strand participated in the Green Lake Triathlon, held in Spicer, Minn. Strand, of Fargo, N.D., said he made the switch to the duathlon because he prefers to run and bike without the swimming.

There are two versions of the duathlon -- sprint and standard competitions. The sprint versions requires athletes to first run a 5K, bike a 20K and finally a run a 2.5K to finish. The standard requires participants to run a 10K, then bike a 40K and finish with a 5K run.

Strand will participate in the sprint competition after he finished with a time of 1 hour, 52 minutes, 1 second at the Apple Duathlon. He had the option to compete in either class.

"I was positioned 11th in my age group and from that I chose the sprint," said Strand, who will participate in the 25-29 age group in Ottawa. "My age group is the group where there are a lot people who are just getting into the sport or trying to find a career or decide if they want to do this. Being on the younger side of the age group is kind of nice because I have some years to figure out if this is what I want to do and get better."

Strand admitted he isn't doing any special training for his upcoming event. He said he rides his bike with a couple of guys from a local bike shop in Fargo. He said there are some people who do special training but the only difference in Strand's training will be eating foods with more carbohydrates.

Wade and Jody Strand, Chris' parents who live in Mitchell, will make the 1,429-mile trip to Canada to watch him compete. Chris said when he told his parents about his duathlon competition, they were a surprised but also excited for him.

While Strand does not have extensive duathlon experience, he was a former athlete in high school. At MHS, he was a member of the cross country team for five years and helped the Mitchell Marlins varsity squad win the program's first-ever state championship in 2006. Strand was named first-team all-state.

"Just qualifying for worlds is a success for me," Strand said. "I think just being there for the experience will do it for me. But the competitor in me will kick in during the race and I will want to do well, but regardless of my place I will be happy with it."