To gear up for the Wanderlust 108 triathlon, you don’t have to master an 8-minute mile, perfect your pedal cadence or shave seconds off your freestyle stroke.
You might want to practice something that can be even harder: sitting still.
The Wanderlust isn’t a typical run/bike/swim competition, it’s a “mindfulness triathlon” that includes a 5K run (or walk), 90 minutes of yoga flow and a 30-minute guided meditation.
It’s not about where you place. In fact, you can’t really win — or lose.
“It’s an all-out celebration of mindful living,” said Kimberly Small, director of publicity for Wanderlust. “This is about going inward, finding your true north, among other like-minded people.”
The daylong event at Harriet Island in St. Paul also will include music, a marketplace with local artisans, organic food vendors from the region and workshops by local yogis. Choose from a flow-and-restore class by Stephanie Mauceri of Big River Yoga or a walking Om class by Caitlin Gottschalk of CTG Yoga.
(In a nod to its sponsors, there also will be a display by Ford Motor Co. and a retail shop where attendees can buy Wanderlust-branded apparel by Adidas.)
The one-day traveling event grew out of a four-day yoga retreat and arts festival first held in 2009 on a mountaintop (of course) in California (of course). While the female-heavy, feel-good fest proved to be popular, co-founders Jeff Krasno, Schuyler Grant and Sean Hoess realized it also was too costly and time-consuming for many people to come to the Squaw Valley mountain.
So, they moved the mountain experience to parks in cities across the country. This year, Wanderlust 108 will be held in 60 cities in more than 17 countries.
“We’ve taken the three most popular events — running, yoga and meditation — and combined them in a festival atmosphere,” said Hoess. “Our idea was to promote a different kind of health and wellness. People need a bit of de-stressing and calming.”
Hoess acknowledges that yoga and meditation are usually considered “solitary traditions.” And while Wanderlust honors those ancient practices, the festival approach helps make them more mainstream.
“We are striking a balance between community and going inward,” he said. “That balance is where most people live.”
While the event is likely to appeal to hard-core yogis (Hoess expects as many as 2,000 participants in St. Paul), it’s designed to be accessible to newbies and anyone who needs a boost.
“We think that this is a time — now more than ever — to find community, to find people who are just … nice people, who come with a positive frame of mind.”