-By Meghan Bayley
As spring kicks off race season, many people will be participating in their first races of the year. Now more than ever, the spring season marks a great opportunity to introduce kids to the sport of triathlon, and make the training process a family event. Think about registering your kids for their very first race. The growing popularity of kids races makes it easier than ever. Children’s triathlons focus less on competition, more on participation and emphasis on fun and friendship. Many events are coordinated with adult races making it a great way to make it a family event.
What programs are out there?
The Kids of Steel (KOS) program is a great place to start, with events all across Canada. The (KOS) program is a national program run by Triathlon Canada and is designed to allow children the opportunity experience the sport of triathlon in a positive environment. The age range goes from 6 to 19, focusing on long-term development for any age.
The Trikids triathlon series is also a good place to start, with events based in Ontario, Alberta and British Colombia. It is more focused on introducing kids to the sport of triathlon and ranges from 3 to 15.
There is also the Ironkids program, which organizes children’s triathlons and fun runs. The age range for these events goes from 3 to 15, and it corresponds with the Ironman triathlon weekends.
What do you need?
Children’s races require very minimum equipment- most of the equipment that is needed for these races are things that many people already have in their homes.
How hard are the races?
Most programs run sanctioned events under triathlon, which means that the standards are almost the same in any event across the country. This means that no matter where you race the rules, age divisions and distances stay the same. The distances are age appropriate and are supposed to offer a challenge but are short enough to be completed. Most children’s races are based on the idea of “finishing is winning”, and less on the competitive aspect of the sport.
Standard Race distance summary
Where to find event information?
Although programs are run across the country, most children’s events are organized through the provincial triathlon associations. The best idea would be to look into what events are being organized near you through your provincial association.
Here are a few events coming up this summer:
- Saturday August 15th 2015, KOS Orillia, Orillia, Ontario
- Saturday July 5th 2015, KOS Petawawa, Petawawa, Ontario
- Saturday June 21st 2015, KOS Lindsay, Lindsay, Ontario
- British Colombia
- Sunday June 28th, 2015, Kamloops Kids of Steel, Kamloops, British Colombia
- Saturday August 29th, 2015 Challenge Kids, Penticton, British Colombia
- Nova Scotia
- Sunday June 28th, 2015, EPIC Kids’ Triathlon, Banook Lake, Nova Scotia
Still think the kids aren’t ready to race?
Programs like KOS or Trikids offer clinics to help prepare, and there are now many camps available to help introduce kids to the sport. Check out the local parks and recreation programs to see what is offered.