The Hippie Triathlon

Hippie Triathlon

hip·​pie tri·​ath·​lon

: a 3-part endorphin boosting activity which involves running, swimming and general merrymaking (see related: libations, burgers, karaoke, dance-offs).

The Hippie Triathlon is deeply enmeshed in local Austin lore, and while its origins are not entirely known, our understanding is that the Hippie Triathlon has taken place  in Austin, in a sporadic and somewhat semi-annual fashion since the Summer of Love (or so we like to believe).

Somewhere in between the earliest known parties at the Moontower and blissed-out strolls along the Greenbelt, a band of Austin oddballs came together in the spirit of camaraderie, recreation, and good-natured irreverence. Caught in the swell of this feel-good tide, one could say the Hippie Triathlon nearly forged itself.

We first learned about the Hippie Triathlon at Deep Eddy Pool, which happens to be the oldest pool in Texas. No one is really sure why the Hippie Triathlon came to be, but its nexus seems to be the  recreational trinity that was RunTex, Deep Eddy Pool, and The Trail (formally known as the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake).

We like to imagine that the Hippie Triathlon emerged in the late 60s as the brainchild of a group of nature buddies – running the gamut from Texas football alum-turned-yogi to rumored pioneer of the carrot juice phenomenon – who regularly met at Deep Eddy Pool on weekday mornings before heading off to start their days.  This cast of characters made routine daily dips followed by a prolonged shoot-the-breeze session, often to the mellow soundtrack of crunching granola and Grateful Dead bootlegs. 

As legend would have it, one morning, a pecan farmer and local tie-dye maverick ran a couple miles on the trail, popped into Deep Eddy Pool for a few laps and topped it off with a beer at Deep Eddy Cabaret (because why not?). When he returned to the farm, someone asked him what’d he’d been up to that morning. He replied, “Oh, you know, just a little Hippie Triathlon.”

A few weeks back, Ty was in the mood to get off her computer and get outside. “We should do the Hippie Triathlon!” she exclaimed. Despite having a few enthusiastic triathletes in this office, none of us really knew what she was talking about, so she went on to explain how the Hippie Triathlon works.  

How to do the Hippie Triathlon

1. Run ~2 miles 

2. Jump in a pool, swim around a little bit. (*Bonus points if you swim laps)

3. Head to a place for some food & drink

And so, last week, Team OV held the first formally recognized Hippie Triathlon, albeit disregarding the thousands of informal antecedents.  Our hope is that the Hippie Triathlon becomes more than just a bit of local lore; instead, it’s an annual celebration of #DoingThings.

Open to everyone — the trail is free, the pool is free (in autumn, and only $3 the rest of the year –the Hippie Triathlon something anyone, anywhere  with a friendly watering hole can do, anytime.

Given the carefree nature of the Hippie Triathlon, we envision it happening all over the place — in Venice Beach on the boardwalk, in Brooklyn (with a quick jump in the McCarren Pool, and a beer at Turkey’s Nest), or in Chicago on the Lakefront (perhaps a Polar Plunge Hippie Triathlon?).

The spirit of the Hippie Triathlon is universal. Long live the Hippie Triathlon. 

Want to host a Hippie Triathlon? Let us know. We’re more than happy to consult on any logistics so you and your team can start #DoingThings.

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