Silly Rabbit, Triathlon is for Kids!

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Lifetime Chicago Triathlon- 2021 Kids Tri Race Recap

While generally considered an adult pursuit, Triathlon can be an amazing experience for children. After all, who spends more time swimming, biking, and running than kids? This summer, I had the privilege of coaching some young athletes as they trained for and participated in the 2021 Kids Tri at the Lifetime Chicago Triathlon.

Held at Foster Beach on Chicago’s North Side, the Kids Tri provided over 500 children aged 7-14 the opportunity to experience the full range of triathlon’s triumphs and challenges. From early morning transition area logistics to 90-degree temperature, to the cheers and cowbells and the weight of a medal around one’s neck. The kids got to see and feel it all.

The race was split into two divisions. Juniors, aged 7-10, completed a 100m swim, 3.5km bike, and 1km run and Seniors, age 10-14, doubling that distance in each discipline. The race started with a time-trial style swim, with two athletes at a time hitting the water starting at 7 AM. After a short run to transition, the kids put on their required helmets and jumped on the widest imaginable range of bikes (size and type) and took on for the bike portion. The run along the lakefront path was a joy to watch. No adult runs with the complete abandon that a kid does with a finish line to cross. After receiving their well-deserved medals, the kids enjoyed their post-race snacks and beverages with equal gusto, with proud parents looking on. The Lifetime Chicago Kids Tri race organizers put on an amazing event that the participants will remember for a long time.

Speaking of pride- What about the team that I coached? They were amazing! The kids all participated as members of team Live Grit Soars (donate at livegritsoars.org), an organization that leverages the sport of triathlon to “build strong kids through equitable access and empowerment.” To Meneonses, Caleb, Jordan, Lyric, Jael, Kianna, ZZ, Ishmael, and Amare David:  You are all true Chicago Athletes. Watching you train so hard to reach your goals was one of the best experiences I have had. Remember how you felt crossing that finish line. You will experience the same feeling every time you cross another- no matter how many times you do it.

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While Todd was a swimmer throughout childhood, he led a mostly sedentary, career-focused adulthood until the age of 45, when he fell in with a crowd of triathletes, runners and cyclists. Under their influence, Todd embraced the adventure that is endurance sports, completing his first full distance Ironman race in 2019. When not obsessively poring over his data on Strava and Training Peaks, Todd can be found in the kitchen cooking food to fuel athletic endeavors for him and his wife Sharon, also a runner. Oh, and can't forget the cat.

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