Kids triathlon reaches XL size

By Geoff Lee

April 11, 2018 1:21 PM

Over 700 students from the Lloydminster public and catholic school divisions will take part in this year’s Lloydminster Triathlon at Bud Miller All Seasons Park. Riders will have to walk their bikes out of the transition zone past a set of pylons as these competitors did in a previous race. FILE PHOTO

The ATB Financial Lloydminster Kids of Steel Triathlon is transitioning into a gigantic sporting event supported by the Catholic and public school divisions in our border city.
The 5th annual triathlon will go ahead on June 22 at Bud Miller All Seasons Park with over 700 kids from ages 6-15 taking part in individual and team swim, bike and run challenges.
“It just continues to grow over the years,” said race director and lead organizer, Anthony Bender, and vice-president of St. Joseph Elementary School.
“The word of mouth spreads from person to person; it’s the best advertising you’re going to get—to have kids enjoying themselves and being active, that’s the whole point.”
Bender thinks it will get to the point where it gets too big, but he says as long as the safety of the event isn’t compromised, they won’t turn kids away.
“We’re getting pretty creative on how we can structure things depending on individuals and teams,” he said.
“I hate to turn kids away from being active and it is a good event.”
He’s hoping to get a few more senior teams than in past years registered before the final numbers are in.
Bender says the event is also strongly supported by the community with many sponsors and with the two school divisions.
He said every year ATB Financial looks to give back to the community and that’s how it started in the first year.
He says what helps keep it going is the small amount of commitment required by the kids to take part in the activity compared to organized sports.
“You commit to it as much as you want to,” he said, noting there’s a healthy mix of participation and competition for individuals and teams.
Everyone gets a medal along with gold, silver and bronze awards to the top three finishers in each age and distance category.
“Those who want to be serious can be; those that don’t can just do it for activity,” said Bender.
“You set your own bar basically.”
Rounding up volunteers each year has never been a problem either says Bender, who notes a committee starts to plan for the event in September each year, so there is no last-minute chaos.
“It’s got a good support system; it’s got a lot of doers on the committee and it’s very well thought out in advance,” he said
Staff from the City of Lloydminster have jumped into the fray with registration open for three Kids of Steel training camps at the BioClean Aquatic Centre until May 9.
The Wednesday sessions include swim and bike on May 16, swim and run on May 23 and swim and transition area on May 30 from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
The camps are $20 per day or $45 for all three.
As usual, Bender will hold his own orientation camp for kids prior to race day to give kids and parents an idea of the way the day will unfold at Bud Miller.
He said the triathlon will go ahead rain or shine like it did last year when 670 kids took part.
Bender noted one of the by-products of the event is in the week prior, seeing many parents and kids come out to Bud Miller biking and going around the trails.
“That’s great; not only are the kids getting active, but so are the parents,” he said.

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