By Rusty Smith
This past summer I was fortunate enough to coach a group of about 20 youths in our neighborhood who have become very interested in training for and racing triathlons. The youngest is 6 and the oldest is 11, with the rest scattered pretty evenly between. The “team” (as they have quickly come to consider themselves) is evenly split between boys and girls. We practice together twice per week and mostly work on the “ABCs” - Agility, Balance, and Coordination, along with transition skills. Every single one of them already put my flying mount to shame.
Our first team race was July 6, 2014, and it was about the most fun I have had at a race ever. It really hit a chord and reminded me exactly why I train and race, and how it is both deeply serious and wildly fun simultaneously. The team brought home a couple of podium spots, and the first timers are definitely hooked, including our six year old who has only been off her training wheels for two weeks! As an added surprise bonus when Matt Cole of Podium Multisport got wind of what we were doing, he immediately jumped on board to help us out with training and race-day equipment.
While we got a million photos throughout the summer, this is a series of one of our second graders that fairly well encapsulates all that is good about the sport of triathlon. It definitely channels the “Like a Girl“ video that went viral over the summer.
The kids participated in a total of four races together this summer with great success, and I am already hearing from kids who are looking forward to racing again next year. With the help of Matt and Team Podium we are looking forward to expanding the program to include other in-town neighborhood groups in the upcoming season, so stay tuned.