Photos by T. Hynd
The Fernie Kids Tri (FKT) started with the cheer “Swim, bike, run!” by young triathletes before they dipped into the swimming pool for the first leg of the three-sport event. The Fernie Kids Tri is a popular event in its third year as registration was full with 126 children plus a waiting list. Children ages four to fifteen years joined the triathlon challenge. Distances varied for the multiple age categories.
The transitions are one of the biggest challenges for triathletes. Switching from swimming, to cycling and finally to running involves having equipment set up in the transition area and muscles adjusting from one sport movement to another. Taking off a swim cap, putting on a bike helmet, tugging on socks, shoes, shirt and shorts over wet feet and bathing suits isn’t easy when trying to catch your breath after the swim.
The routes to bike and run to and from the transition area were lined with orange flagging tape but with tall crowds, racks of bikes and stacks of race day adrenaline, it’s easy to get confused. Volunteers directed children through the transition area as the crowd offered encouraging cheers and words of support.
Each competitor received a medal at the finish line.
“We want people to have fun,” said race director Scott Dressler. “As organizers, we strive to make the FKT accessible by making the triathlon fun, close by in the community and a low price.”
“We feel like we’re on the right track as a lot of people step up to volunteer and businesses are very supportive with donations. The response is always very supportive and excellent. We have a great committee who pitch in. They’re fantastic.”
This year the kids will take home a well-earned medal plus a variety of swim bags and shorts.
Triathlon is a growing sport with race participation increasing by more than 300 per cent in the last five years around the world. In Canada, triathlon is one of the nation’s most rapidly growing sports – thanks in large part to Simon Whitfield’s Olympic gold and silver medals. Triathlon has been recognized as an Olympic medal sport since 2000 and will be a Paralympic medal sport as of 2016.