Saturday July 6, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- Beer kegs will be tossed, golf club drivers will be thrown, and Nerf footballs will be hurled. This is just three of ten events that will play out Saturday on the BUHS track and field during the third Brattleboro Decathlon.

Yeah, this isn’t your typical decathlon.

The concept comes from the minds of Dan Barile and Brian Lashway. The two are 2006 graduates from Brattleboro, and both were athletes on the track team.

Barile hung around to become assistant track coach at BUHS for two years, and now he’s head coach of the track team at Turners Falls High, in Montague, Mass.

"Basketball and baseball was what I was into," said Barile. "I never envisioned myself doing cross-country or track. I only used it to get in shape for hoops. I then found myself stopping baseball and doing track, in the spring."

The first decathlon started out very ad-hoc, actually, and Barile and Lashway only had friends and acquaintances attend. It wasn’t a private event by any means -- the two just never did any real promotion.

"We want the event to grow," said Barile. "If we could get more competitors and spectators, I think it’s something we could get sponsors interested in."

At the first "modified decathlon" there were six individual running events. This year, the running has been wittled down to three races: 100m, 300m, and 400m. Other events include those mentioned above, and also hurdling and long jump.

Barile said he has relied heavily on social media to promote this year’s event, which begins at 3:30 p.m.

Last year, Will Franklin took the crown. According to Barile, Franklin previously had never been involved in track in his life, and went on to play college football after he graduated. But he blew everyone away at last year’s comp.

"He’s a natural," said Barile. "Most people don’t realize their potential in this sport, but they know how fun it can be."

Given the schedule of events this time around, it would be hard to imagine anybody who attends or competes not having any fun.

"I know this year things might not take off, but it gives us a good idea of what may come next year," said Barile. "We [he and Lashway] do it all: organize, promote, and participate. But it might not be that way forever."

Hopefully.

"If something like the Spartan Race or Warrior Dash can get big, I see no reason why something like this couldn’t be a success too!"

David Aquino can be reached at daquino@reformer.com, or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.