The 10th Anniversary of the California Kids Triathlon was fantastic, from start to finish.
Starting things off, we were featured on Thursday morning on Good Day Sacramento. Being featured on the news is always exciting, but particularly so for our kid’s triathlons, because they are so unique. Running races may be a dime a dozen these days, each with their own niche, but kid’s triathlons are still relatively few and far between.
Race weekend continued to go swimmingly (slight pun intended). Packet Pick Up on Saturday was smooth and the weather was so mild that it was hard to believe it was mid-August. As I arrived on race morning just before sunrise, it seemed the only hiccup was that the sprinklers had gone off in the middle of the night, so the grass was damp. All things considered, this wasn’t a huge deal, because everything that was left out was either plastic or metal, and as the sun rose, the residual water dried.
KCRA 3 called me at about 6:30 a.m. to say that they were coming out to cover the event. What I didn’t realize was that they would use the triathlon as a backdrop to their entire morning show, which runs on Sundays from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Fortunately my husband was still home then, so I called him and he was able to DVR the entire show. Aside from all the exposure, this was fantastic because it meant that a wide variety of footage was shown, so viewers got to see about ten total minutes of video, rather than two or three.
The race itself went great. We had 545 athletes, with our youngest being just three and the oldest at 17. The oldest kids started first and did the longest distances – a 200 yard swim (8 lengths in the pool), a six mile bike course (two loops of our three mile course) and a one mile run. As the kids got younger, the distances ratcheted down so that they were shorter. The youngest children completed a 25 yard swim, 1 mile bike and 1/4 mile run.
We had over 150 volunteers assisting with the event, from the pool, to the run/bike courses, to transition, and everything flowed smoothly. Standing out in my mind is one of our youngest volunteers (pictured to the right). At just ten years old, he was volunteering as part of our Race for Free program. This is a program we do from time to time to encourage volunteerism at community events coupled with a special perk of a free entry to one of our later events – in this case, for our Oktobrewfest race on October 8th. This young man took his role very seriously and I have to say that he has to have been one of the most mature ten year olds that i have ever had the pleasure of meeting. His mom (who was there with him) should be very proud of him.
Our Parent/Child division continued to gain popularity this year, with almost 100 parent/child duos competing in this category. We first introduced this option in 2010 with the thought that the littlest kids would be a lot more comfortable and likely to participate and have a good time if they could do so beside a parent. In fact, it came to us when i was thinking about how my own daughter (then three) would participate since she could not yet swim and was a little wobbly on the bike. . . and would need Dad by her side to make sure she was safe. We thought it was also a fantastic bonding experience as well as a chance for some parents to get out and participate with their child – which is surprisingly a rare opportunity these days. While watching the kids this year and listening to feedback from parents, I’ve decided that we should expand upon this concept and add a “Parent/Teen” division in 2012 for ages 11-17. The kids may not need their parents to help them in this division like the four year olds do (where tying their shoes and buckling their helmets is still a challenge) but I think it might engage some teens and get them to participate when they might otherwise skip the event. I really think there’s something to be said for providing opportunities for a parent and their child to participate together….not competing, but just focusing on having fun and finishing (which is the true focus of our event).
As the morning came to a close and our teeniest, tiniest finishers finished, another great kids tri wrapped up and the last medals were distributed, I felt proud and honored to have been a part of another great event. While organizing all our events brings a sense of satisfaction, it’s the kids events that bring me personally the most fulfillment. I suppose the reason for that is somewhat obvious, but in any case, it feels amazing to see the big smiles on their faces and to see just how proud the kids are of their accomplishment – and to know that the hundreds of hours put into organizing the event were 250% worth it.
Here are links to two video clips: First, click here to see the one from the evening news on KOVR (Channel 13, CBS) below. You can also watch a segment from KCRA here. And a few other things that might be of interest: