Triathlons are a triumvirate of physical fitness, an ultimate test of endurance. While not everyone can get in the shape necessary to bike, swim and run long distances in one day, Mason Recreation has created an incentive program called the Iron Mason to challenge students to complete a triathlon over a three month period.

The face and founder of the competition is Ethan “Mr. C” Carter, the Director of Fitness for Mason Recreation. Carter has created a series of YouTube videos as Mr. C, a celebrity within the fitness community who claims to be the fittest of them all.

“We wanted to think of something to encourage physical fitness and get people active. This competition also has longevity and encourages competition,” Carter said.

Starting Feb. 9, competitors will record their gym activity on log sheets as they race to finish before the final deadline of May 4.

The program comes with several levels of difficulty and may be finished early for additional prizes and recognition.

The standard Olympic Mason requires 2.5 miles of swimming, 75 miles of biking and 25 miles of running. For more intense competitors, the Ultimate Mason challenge requires 5 miles of swimming, 150 miles of biking and 50 miles of running before deadline.

The Olympic Mason competitors can finish the challenge in a month by swimming two laps a day five days a week, running 1.25 miles a day 5 days a week and biking 3.75 miles a day 5 days a week. Since the competition spans three months, competitors also have the option to workout longer less days a week or expand the calendar to stretch out over three months.

Last year the Iron Mason signed up approximately 100 competitors. Nearly a quarter of them finished the challenge by the end of the semester. Carter says his goal for the spring semester is to increase both initial sign up numbers and see a higher finish rate.

To become a part of the Iron Mason Elite, you must catch Mr. C if you can, at whatever pace and routine you are most comfortable with.

“We’ve had some great results, people get in better shape and some have even reported losing up to 25 pounds,” Carter said.

Though the final deadline is May 4, competitors may finish at the Diamond Level on March 9 or the Platinum Level on April 6 for a prize.

As an alternative to earning the miles through biking, running or swimming, competitors can walk, use rowing machines or participate in group classes like spinning or Zumba. Mason Recreation encourages competitors to take the stairs instead of at the elevator and wear a pedometer to make sure that all of their daily physical activity is counted towards the competition. Contestants keep track of their own progress on bi-weekly sheets that are emailed out to participants.

Registration forms are available on the Mason Recreation website.