Adventure #47: Swim, Bike & Run in the Tri Kids Triathlon.
In what can only be described as the “feel good event of the summer,” the annual Tri Kids Triathlon at Nelson Park and Pool attracts hundreds of kids and their parents to a day of great ambition, huge accomplishments and big boosts in self-esteem.
Kids of all ages — 3 to 15 — have a chance to swim in the outdoor pool and then bike and run across the length of the park.
These events are all about achievement and not competition. The philosophy is one of complete not compete, with a goal of inspiring self-confidence and motivating kids to stay active through sport.
Race day is on Sunday with Saturday being the day for Race Kit Pickup and Orientation sessions. This is when families will learn, in great detail, exactly how the race is run. This is also where participants pick up their numbered bib, t-shirt and free goodies from sponsors.
This was Jr Burlington’s third year of competition, but his first at the Burlington event. This is because Tri Kids Burlington sells out every year, months in advance. We’ve always been just a bit too late to register.
Having tried the Milton and Oakville events, I can now see why Burlington is so popular. With its outdoor Olympic size pool and massive field (with plenty of shady trees), Nelson Park is just perfect for this event!
After arriving at the park, we made our way to the transition area and found a spot for the bike and a change of clothes.
It was then time to get into position for the swim. A pep talk provided some last minute encouragement.
Before we knew it, the race was on! The 6 & 7 year olds swam a half length of Nelson Pool.
Once out of the pool, it was on to the transition area!
Each kid was partnered with a volunteer who helped get them dried off and prepped for the bike portion of the triathlon.
With helmet, shirt and shoes on, it was time to hop on the bike and pedal, pedal, pedal!
The distance each athlete completes is based on their age. For Jr Burlington, the bike portion was 1.5 km and the run was 500 meters.
Excited families line the bike course cheering the athletes on! All along the road are signs waving and bells ringing as kids pedal by with the largest smiles you’ve ever seen.
With the cycling portion complete, bikes are handed off to volunteers and the athletes run to the finish line!
It took longer than expected for him to appear running down the final stretch. Afterwards, I learned this was because he stopped for a drink at the water station and started chatting with the volunteers. But really, that’s what makes this day so great. Some kids are driven by achieving a certain time while others just want to have fun and make it to the end. There is no pressure, only encouragement.
As every runner approaches the finish line, their name and hometown is announced. It’s amazing to hear how many families drive from hours away to attend the Burlington race.
Immediately upon crossing the finish line, a medal is placed around the finisher’s neck while volunteers and family members offer many congratulations and high fives.
A water, fruit and snack station is positioned nearby to offer a much needed energy boost.
Something else about this event that is worth mentioning is how incredibly well run and organized it is. Everything runs like clockwork and it seems like the organizers have thought of everything. We participated in a kids race at Disney World last year and it was not as well managed as the Tri Kids events.
If you’d like to give your child the thrill of completing a triathlon but don’t want to wait until next year, two Niagara races are still accepting registrations until late August. Otherwise, be sure to register by March next year before the Burlington race sells out!