Volunteers give instructions to a racer in the transition zone of the Kids’ Triathlon on June 9 in and around the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Whitehorse youth swim, bike and run at annual Kids’ Triathlon

The City of Whitehorse held its sixth annual Kids’ Triathlon last Sunday, where children between the ages of 5 and 14 ran, rode and swam in miniature versions of the three-pronged race.

The triathlon took place at the Canada Games Centre and on the Mount McIntyre ski trails. Kids participated within four different age cohorts, depending on their age. There were 25 registered participants in the 11-to-14-year-old group, 64 in the eight-to-10 group, 55 in the six-to-seven group and 26 in the five-year-old group. However, these numbers don’t account for kids who dropped out of the race.

Five-year old participants had to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The length of the triathlon was different for each age cohort. For instance, the 11 to 14 cohort swam 200 metres, ran three kilometres and rode five kilometres; in contrast, the five-year old participants swam one lap in the aquatic centre’s leisure pool, ran 500 metres and rode an optional 500 metres.

“Ultimately it encourages children of all skill levels between the ages of five to 14 to be active and healthy by introducing them to the fun of a triathlon and fair play,” said Keri Rutherford, program lead hand for the City of Whitehorse.

A notable component of the kids’ triathlon is that it’s non-competitive. All participants get a medal and their finish times aren’t tracked.

“We want to encourage kids to be active and healthy, and we want to encourage them to come out and have fun and not get wrapped up in the competitiveness of the event,” Rutherford said.

“For a lot of them, like the five-year-olds, sixes and sevens, this is an opportunity to get out there and maybe do their first running race or do their first strokes in the pool, and we want to take that competitiveness away. There are going to be kids that come out and are competitive, and that’s OK, but we really want to promote more of the non-competitive aspect, the fun and just encouraging kids to come out and be healthy.”

Even without the competitive aspect, Rutherford said it was great to see the kids putting themselves out there, getting exercise and having fun.

“I was out on the trail… and at one point there was about 15 of the six- (and) seven-year-olds coming at me on the bikes down the trail from all different skill levels. All the kids had smiles on their faces (and looked) super determined. So I think that was pretty awesome.”

Contact Joshua Azizi at joshua.azizi@yukon-news.com

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