Jeneé Osterheldt

KC triathlon is for the mind, body and spirit all day long

Wanderlust’s 90-minute guided yoga session includes a dance party.
Wanderlust’s 90-minute guided yoga session includes a dance party. Wanderlust Festival

When I think triathlon, I think superhero stamina. But Wanderlust 108 makes me say “om.”

Instead of the usual athletic triple threat of swimming, cycling and running, this triathlon is a 5K run and walk, 90 minutes of yoga and 30 minutes of meditation. There are mini workshops for hooping and aerial yoga, body-paint sessions, food vendors and live music. Other shindigs have beer gardens. This one has a kombucha garden.

It’s a festival for the mind, body and spirit. And all day Saturday, the yogi life is taking over Berkley Riverfront Park.

New Yorker Sean Hoess and his partners created Wanderlust seven years ago to marry music festivals with arts and yoga.

“We were in our 30s, and we were looking for a different experience,” Sean says from his home in Brooklyn. “We wanted music and fitness, but we wanted a little more meaning, too.”

Initially they hosted retreats in Hawaii, California and New York — getaways people had to plan for.

“There was an audience everywhere we went,” Sean says. “It struck a chord, and it’s a good chord to strike. Health, wellness, peace, calm and community? Those are all of the things the world needs a little bit more of.”

For that reason they wanted to make it accessible. So they condensed the retreats to a traveling triathlon. And this Saturday marks the event’s first time in Kansas City.

“There is a passion for mindfulness all over the country,” Sean says. “People spend so much time in front of a screen and have very little actual human interaction. People aren’t any less stressed in Kansas City than they are in New York. Wanderlust and events like it are a way to bring people together, a respite from the digital, a time to slow down and reflect on what’s important.”

Shanell Petersen, owner of Nella Yoga in Kansas City, created a team participating in the triathlon. You’re welcome to join her team. She hopes Wanderlust helps bring together yoga enthusiasts and newbies alike.

“I know what it’s like to enjoy yoga, meditation and a long stroll outside, and not have many friends who wanted to do the same,” she says. “This triathlon is probably the coolest, because the idea of bringing people together who are interested in yoga, meditation and running, walking or skipping to simply raise the vibration of the whole far outweighs bringing people together to compete for a prize.”

A medal doesn’t quite capture the spirit. Carving out time to center yourself and plug into your community is the real win.

Saturday

Wanderlust, a mindful triathlon featuring a 5K, yoga and meditation, is 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Berkley Riverfront Park, at Grand Boulevard and River Front Road. Tickets, $39, include the triathlon and one bonus activity. There will be food vendors, but you can bring your own picnic lunch. Children 13 and younger are free. Register at Wanderlust.com.

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