August 1, 1996

Sometimes, A Race Comes Down To Body Language Your Legs Are Made For Talking: Body Markings Reveal All

Marianne Love Correspondent

Coeur d’Alene Triathlon race organizers and participants read and use body language during the race - literally.

At 5:30 a.m. Sunday, contestants begin meeting at the staging area near North Idaho College’s Lee Administration Building where race volunteers, armed with felt markers, write registration numbers on competitors’ shoulders and thighs.

Race organizer Lee Brack says the body marks avoid confusion for monitors if a contestant forgets his or her number during the race.

Besides the registration number, participants receive another identification on one of their calves. The mark indicates either their age or race category.

This visible information can give competitors a psychological boost, or it may even intimidate some racers. “You know who you’re competing against and it’s kind of nice to show off,” Brack says.

As a former triathlete who took up the sport when he was 50, Brack knows firsthand how the identification can enhance a racer’s motivation.

“If you’re passing someone in the race and you see that they’re 25 and you’re 50, you want to blow ‘em away,” Brack explained. “It’s a kick for 50-year-olds and it intimidates the other guy.”

Biker Julie Bloxom, a Sandpoint athlete, sees another advantage of the calf ID for contestants trying to win their division.

“It’s easy to pick out your competition and you don’t worry about the others,” Bloxom says. “It’s like having the rabbit in front of you. You hunt and destroy your female competitors.”

Spotting numbers has worked for Bloxom and her team. They’ve won the Women Master’s Team division for the past two years and broke a record in 1994.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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