A micro-athlete transitions from the pool to the bike course. James Snell/The Free Press

Fernie kids triathlon 2019 a great success

James Snell – reporter@thefreepress.ca

The ninth annual Fernie Kids Triathlon was a success on Sunday, September 15. The event, which had 142 participants, started in the fog and ended with sunny skies. The race began at 10 a.m.

The swim took place in the Aquatic Centre. The bike route was on sidewalk and paved road for the 4-7 age category and road/gravel for the older groups. The running route was from the Aquatic Centre, to Pine Avenue sidewalk, through the dirt jump park parking area, onto the Trans Canada Trail, and then onto the Coal Creek Trail. For ages 4-7, the running route was within sight of the Aquatic Centre.

Nicole Heckendorf has been race co-director for the past six years.

“It’s an event that my kids have been involved with for a few years,” she said. “I wanted to start giving back and getting involved. It’s an amazing community event that builds a lot of community spirit for kids of all ages. We invite kids with all abilities. It’s an opportunity for kids to be independent and to make good decisions on their own.”

Heckendorf has a favourite memory to share about the race.

“We’ve got a couple of kids that are higher needs,” she explained. “Just watching the way that the other athletes come together with them. They’ll run with them and bike with them. They finish with them and cheer them on.”

Braden Schmidt had two children in the race.

“They’ve both done it for years,” he said. “This is a great event that gives kids confidence. It’s an awesome event for the town.”

Schmidt’s children were born and raised in Fernie, so they’ve taken to outdoor activities in the Valley.

“They’ve been out biking and skiing and running around in general,” he explained. “Just having fun outdoors in Fernie. This morning they were half eager, half nervous, half excited.”

Sharon Bjornsen had two grandchildren in the race.

“This is our granddaughter’s third triathlon.” she said. “It’s our grandson’s first. My daughter and son-in-law are very athletic. They are big promoters of athletes and children. It’s healthy and keeps them strong and gives them confidence. Just having fun.”

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(Left) A micro-athlete crosses the finish line. James Snell/The Free Press

Running for the bikes. James Snell/The Free Press

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