Although the summer of 2017 is more than half over, young triathletes and paratriathletes can still participate in one of the nation’s largest kids’ triathlons on August 26. The Lifetime Kids Tri kicks off at 7 a.m. at Foster Avenue Beach with a triathlon for kids between age 7 and 14.

Kids love doing triathlons if they have some basic skills and the equipment to get to the finish line safely. Here are some of the details and a ready-to-tri check list for your “triathlete-to-be.”

Race Details

The triathletes will swim at Foster Avenue Beach, bike on closed park roads and run on the crushed gravel lakefront trail. “Junior” triathletes aged 7-10 will swim 100m, bike 3.5 km and run 1 km; “Senior” triathletes aged 11-14 will swim 200m, bike 7 km and run 2 km.

The swim is a shallow water start and the course parallels the beach. The course is wheelchair accessible and paratriathletes are welcome. Awards will go to the top three boys and top three girls in each of the following age groups: 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14 and paratriathlete ambulatory and paratriathlete Wheelie divisions. Online race registration closes one week before the race or when filled to capacity.

Skills Required – Swim and Bike

Kids really love triathlons, but only when they have enough skill to feel safe while racing. Before trying a triathlon, kids should be a confident, independent swimmer. They should be able to swim double the race distance continuously as a good test for triathlon swim readiness.

After the swim, young triathletes will have to safely maneuver and race their bikes through a crowded field of young riders. This means that they need a bike that they can confidently stop, start, mount, dismount and handle around obstacles.  Have them do some practicing this summer before heading to Foster Avenue Beach. Once they get to the run, they will know exactly what to do – run and/or walk their way to the finish line.

Equipment Checklist

Scrambling around trying to pack the necessary triathlon equipment? Here are the most important things to take on race morning.

  • Swimsuit or triathlon suit to wear for entire race
  • Goggles
  • Bike
  • Bike Helmet
  • Running shoes
  • A race number belt (or a shirt to wear with race number pinned on)
  • Water bottle
  • Extra clothes and shoes/sandals for before and after the race

At the race site, each participant will get a swim cap and a race number with pins to attach to their race belt or clothing.

Proper Triathlon Parent Behavior

It can be “exciting,” or quite nerve wracking to watch your child participate in a triathlon. Stay as calm as you can, keep smiling and give them a hug. Tell them only two things on race day.  “I am proud of you,” and “I love to watch you race.” Stay away from critique, over-excitement and all other emotional extremes. Your job is to enjoy the triathlon as much as your kid hopefully will.

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Chris Palmquist is an USA Triathlon Elite Coach, USA Cycling Elite Coach and Youth/Junior Coach with 19 years of coaching experience. She has written for Chicago Athlete Magazine for more than 20 years. As a Team MPI Head Coach, she has coached athletes to regional, national and world class success. She is a USA Paratriathlon National Team Coach and Team USA Coach at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, ITU World Paratriathlon Series and High Performance Camps at the Olympic Training Centers. Chris coaches youth and junior triathletes as Head Coach for the MMTT Youth Triathlon Team and for USAT at national Junior Skills Camps. In 33 years as an athlete, she has raced several sports including triathlon (13 Ironman), collegiate rowing (Cornell 83-87), canoe/kayak, cross country skiing (20 Birkebeiner) and road bike racing. Chris is married with two kids. Favorite Quote: “Do Simple Better” ~Joe Maddon


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