Optimal conditions and dozens of supporters greeted young triathletes on Saturday, as the Greater Trail Parks and Recreation held its seventh annual Kids Triathlon.
“It was awesome,” said organizer Lisa Manaigre from Trail Parks and Rec. “It’s probably one of the best ones ever.”
Approximatley 90 athletes ranging from age four to 12 participated in the event. The youngest of the competitors swam 25 metres, biked for just over a third of a kilometre, and ran for half a kilometre, and the distances increased incrementally up to the 11 and 12 year olds swimming 100 metres, biking 3.4 kilometres and running for 1.5 km.
Each race included a swim in the Aquatic Centre pool, a bike ride down Columbia Avenue, and a run with a big celebratory finish at Butler Park, where EZ Rock’s Chris Kuchar emceed the event and encouraged competitors right into the finish line.
“He did a fantastic job,” said Manaigre. “He was at the finish line and he called them in and cheered them on. Coming into the finish line, he’d yell out their race number and name, and give them a whole bunch of encouragement.”
Smoke Eater players Jeremy Lucchini and Connor Brown-Maloski were also there to congratulate the winners and help Trail councillor Eleanor Gattafoni-Robinson award medals to all the participants, who then enjoyed a face painting from Trail’s royalty, gift packs, and healthy snacks.
One of the highlights of the race, explained Manaigre, was seeing Grace Worosz compete in and complete her seventh and final race, despite taking a fall and suffering an injury.
“She has competed in every one. This is her seventh annual so she managed to get through the finish line even though she was injured.”
The annual event began as a joint effort by Gerick Sports, Teck Wellness and Learning Centre, and Trail Parks and Recreation back in 2000, and usually ran the first weekend in July. However, organizers pushed the event up a week this year to avoid conflict wth the Canada Day long weekend. Not only did it prove a good move attracting one of the best turnouts, but cooler weather was also a bonus for the competitors.
“I think last year it was 37 degrees, because it was in July. This year we bumped it up a week, with the July long weekend I think we would have had a tough time getting people. I think it was better because it was perfect weather.”
With a solid group of volunteers helping along the way, and key sponsor support from Teck, Domcor traffic control, Kootenay Savings, K&M contracting, KidSport, and Gericks, the triathlon was a runaway success, and the recreation coordinator looks forward to next year’s event.
“It’s a big effort by a lot of different people,” said Manaigre. “It’s a big event and definitely takes a lot of organization, but it’s good, all the kids get a goodie bad, and T-shirts, and water bottles and they all got a medal at the end.”