iSwim, iBike, iRun Helps Kids Become Triathletes
Did you know, thousands of kids around the world participate in triathlons each year? In fact, USA Triathlon reports youth participation represents one the fastest growing areas of the sport.
On June 13, Northern Michigan child-athletes will have the opportunity to participate in their own kids triathlon in Charlevoix known as iSwim, iBike, iRun – iTri. The event is hosted by the Charlevoix Area Community Pool and sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
The Charlevoix pool staff has developed three different courses, each with varying degrees of difficulty in swimming, biking and running. Although shorter distances than a traditional triathlon, the event is intended to expose young triathletes to the basic elements of this multi-discipline sport. Most importantly, participation gives kids a taste of the unique sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a triathlon.
Rather than specify age categories for the event, each young athlete is encouraged to tackle the course they feel capable of completing. The inaugural race saw a nine-year-old successfully swim ¼ mile, bike 5.5 miles, and finish up his course with a two-mile run (the most challenging series). When he crossed the finish line, understandably exhausted, the audience experienced both tears and goosebumps as a medal was hung over his neck.
Ali Schwein is a 2015 graduate of Charlevoix High School who has competed in triathlons around the country, and last summer in Spain, since she was fifteen. Event organizers enlisted Schwein’s help in developing a training program to prepare students for this unique event. iTri training camps gave athletes the opportunity to test their endurance, practice transition, and learn the critical health and safety aspects of the sport.
The focus of youth multisport events should be fun. Rather than emphasizing competition, kids, parents, and coaches should focus on enjoyment as well as learning proper skills and healthy exercise habits that will last a lifetime.
For more information about the iTri event, or to register, call 231-547-0982 or download a registration form at www.charlevoixpool.org.
Jean Musilek is the Community Relations Manager for the Charlevoix Area Community Pool, aquatic exercise instructor, and “iTri” Race Director. She has two children, both of whom have participated in this children’s triathlon. An avid exercise and health enthusiast, Jean is seeking out her first triathlon where she too will lay fear aside and seek instead self-growth and unshakable self-belief.
Photo Credit: MissMessie (main)
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