This morning I left my house early, armed with camera and cowbells, to cheer on the kids participating in a kids triathlon in a neighboring town. The website describes the event/program in this way:
The Tri Racing for Our Kids (TriROK) Foundation is dedicated to defeating childhood obesity one family at a time through the three sports of triathlon - swimming, biking, and running. We believe that every child has the right to learn how to swim, ride a bike, and the tools to be fit for life - and we know that children learn best from their parents. That's why our programs embrace a whole-family approach to fitness and focus on creating permanent, sustainable lifestyle changes for our participants.
I was really there to cheer on Caitlyn, my favorite almost-6-year-old in her first triathlon. She was bursting with excitement! And frankly, so was I.
Endless fun activities for all ages were sprinkled throughout the grounds, from face painting to bouncythingamajigs to a dunk tank. And there seemed to be tons of volunteers, a sign of a well run event. One of the most entertaining things I witnessed was watching kids get “inked”. Those kids were ecstatic at the prospect of having their bib # and their age officially marked on their arms and legs. The younger 5-6 years olds were especially adorable; their eyes wide opened as if to say, “I can really get written on and not get yelled at?” Yes, young athlete, it really is OK (and rather cool) to be inked.
I scouted out a good viewing spot at the pool, but the chain linked fence was a challenge to my amateur photography attempts. I watched Caitlyn fidget a bit as she waited to start her swim and guessed she had more than a few butterflies in her stomach. When she saw me in the audience, she smiled and waved to me. Melt.My.Heart.
Caitlyn was in the first heat and had no problem in the pool. She is a little fish and is lucky to have frequent access to a pool. She’s also already very competitive and it showed in her game face – she was ON! I had a stupid grin on my face as I watched Caitlyn and mom Meaghan exit the pool and proceed to the transition area for the run leg. For the 5-6 year old group, there was no bicycle leg. Afterall, too many 5-6 year olds are still attached to their training wheels. That would’ve been super cute, but likely a logistical nightmare.
Transition was, well, like most transition areas I’ve witnessed; crazy, chaotic, and awkward. There was one very big difference though – Caitlyn’s transition area was totally bedazzled like only an almost-6-year-old would have. Meaghan helped Caitlyn with her shoes and somehow got her running outfit on her constantly moving body. Off they went for their run! The one thing the volunteers weren’t able to tell me however, was where the little cherubs would be finishing. So, I missed the finish completely. Curses. On a good note, I clearly heard the booming voice over the loud speaker announce Caitlyn’s finish. Hooray! Medal, water, snack, red face, big smile……job well done!
During a time when the obesity rates continue to rise and some are proposing obese kids be taken from their parents, what a breath of fresh air to witness this type of positive event. Fortunately, Caitlyn’s already a healthy, fit, and active child, but even for those who aren’t, this type of event can’t help but motivate and inspire children to get moving. It warms my heart that foundations are being created like Tri Racing for Our Kids (TriROK) Foundation and it comforts me that our children will get the right message and stay healthy; thus, growing old enough to become President one day!