Sports athlete of the week

SCOTT T. LANDERS ’13 Duathlons, dynamics, and development

A year after entering his first triathlon, Landers prepares for World Championships

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Courtesy of Scott T. Landers

Meet Scott T. Landers ’13. When Scott isn’t busy tooling away at psets like the rest of us, he trains for — and competes in — duathlons and triathlons. In fact, Scott will be competing in both the Short Course and Long Course World Duathlon Championships this fall. But first, a short background.

Scott grew up on a family farm outside of Paris, Texas. His love of the outdoors and an early fascination with water — a premium commodity on a Texas farm — led him to an interest in fluid dynamics. With that interest in mind, he came to MIT intending to pursue a degree in Course 8 and/or Course 18. However, he quickly realized that these courses were not hands-on enough for him, and he switched to Course 1E. Growing up on a farm required devising elegant solutions that had to be implemented with limited resources. Switching to Course 1E gave him more opportunities to apply such methodology. Scott hopes to expand on this experience, using his knowledge gained at MIT to come up with simple solutions to problems in agriculture and water conservation in the developing world. After graduating, Scott is considering serving abroad in the Peace Corps before possibly returning for graduate school. Scott sums up his interests as, simply, “I want to get my hands dirty and change the world.”

Although Scott competed in cross-country and ran track and field in high school, he did not participate in his first triathlon (a race consisting of a swim, a bicycle race, and a run) until spring of his freshman year at MIT. He was not a strong swimmer at the time and did not own a road bicycle, but a friend let Scott borrow his bike if he promised to try out for another triathlon later in the year. Although Scott’s first triathlon went terribly, he continued training and eventually became interested in duathlons, which feature an additional run in place of the first swimming leg. He eventually competed in the 2010 Long Course (10-kilometer run, 60 k bike, 10 k run) Duathlon National Championship, placed second in his age group, and automatically qualified him to compete in the Long Course Duathlon World Championship this fall. He participated in several other competitions throughout the year, including more duathlons, a half “Iron Man” (1.2-mile swim, 56 mi bike, 13.1 mi run), and a half marathon. His strong duathlon finishes throughout the year culminated in national USA Triathlon ranking, which qualified him for the Short Course (10 k run, 40 k bike, 5 k run) Duathlon World Championships, taking place this fall.

In addition to his studies at MIT and training with both the MIT Triathlon Club and MIT Cycling Club, Scott is a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, where he serves as the community service chair. He is also a member of the MIT Steel Bridge Team, which hopes to make it to Nationals for another consecutive year.

When asked for advice about preparing for duathlons and triathlons, Scott recommended a simple recovery drink of milk and sugar for training sessions. If you meet him, be sure to cheer him on, especially in the fall before he leaves for the Short Course and Long Course Duathlon World Championships.