First kids’ triathlon draws 79 participants

Published 9:30 am Monday, June 8, 2009

The weather may have been cooler and wetter than organizers would have liked, but that didn’t stop 79 children, ages 7 to 14, from participating in the first Land Between the Lakes Kids’ Triathlon Saturday.

“We were very pleased,” said Dennis Dieser of the Albert Lea Family Y, one of the organizers of the event along with Ross Williams and Lynn Scheevel.

Dieser said he thought the best part of the event was the fact that it wasn’t timed. “Just to see the smiles on their faces when they came to the finish line, knowing they accomplished something was great,” he said.

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The event wrapped up the Fit Forever program, a collaborative effort of the Family Y, Albert Lea Medical Center, District 241 and Freeborn County Public Health. Kids took part in activities since the beginning of this year and got stamps in their Fit Forever passports for doing so.

“We hope to continue with some of these activities next year,” Dieser said.

They turned in their passports to be eligible for drawings at the end of the event. The top prize was a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit.

The participants started the event by swimming, then biking, and finally by running.

Kids took part for a variety of reasons.

Charley Fleek, who just finished second grade, said her mom told her she should do the triathlon. She was looking forward to doing it again next year, she said.

Grace Chalmers, who also just finished second grade, said she thought the event sounded fun. She practiced her swimming to help prepare for the actual event.

Quinn Andersen, 12, said her dad signed her up for the event. “The running part is where it started getting hard,” she said.

Alexandra Eckstrom, 8, said she took part because she hadn’t ever done it before. “I thought it would be fun,” she said.

Tanner Shaft, 13, said he saw the adult triathlon earlier this year and thought it looked like fun, so he decided to sign up. To prepare, he biked the course and ran a mile with his mom, Joy.

His friends, Will Martin, 11, and Corde’ Purdie, 12, also thought it the event looked like fun. Martin rode his bike on the trail with his dad and Purdie biked with his sister.