A young participant gets out of the water at the 2015 Fernie Kids Triathlon.

Fernie Kids’ Triathlon sprints into sixth year

On Sept. 18, 150 kids will swim, bike and run for the Fernie Kids’ Triathlon.

On Sept. 18, 150 kids will swim, bike and run for the Fernie Kids’ Triathlon. In its sixth year, the race has become known as a fun event for kids to test their skills at all three activities.

Organizer Tara Beck says the organizing committee has been working on perfecting the race model over the years, and believes they have found one that works well for this race.

“We looked at changing the course, but it was not going to – from a volunteer perspective – it was not going to work,” said Beck, who said there are 70 volunteers for the race, almost one for every two racers.

“We want all the extra volunteers. We want enough people to make sure no kids took a wrong turn, making sure everyone finishes, making sure if someone scrapes their knee on a bike, we have a band aid for them,” continued Beck.

According to Beck, the main goal of the event is to have a fun and safe course for the participants. Because of this, the organizers focus on safety and simplicity.

“For the safety and simplicity, they are swimming in a pool and we only want two or three kids – four kids maximum to a lane. More than that, we start getting a couple of safety issues. We don’t want too many kids in the transition area at one time, trying to put on their clothes when they are soaking wet,” she said.

This is also why the race is capped at 150 participants. There is currently a waitlist, and this year, Beck says, the event filled up faster than ever.

“We have had a waitlist since June. There seems to be fewer people dropping out,” she said.

The U6 category is first to race, and the organizers let them finish the course completely before letting other age groups begin. The last race for the U16 category usually starts around 12 p.m.

Over the years, the organizers have considered whether or not they should sanction the event with TriBC and become a Kids of Steel race. Beck says they have shied away from this option, as they want to keep the focus on a fun introduction to the sports, not a competitive environment. Also, if they do not sanction the event, organizers are able to keep the entry fee more affordable.

“We would have to go to chip timing in that case, which would add another cost. It then puts the cost of our event a little outside of what it is,” she said. “We want to introduce kids to the sport of triathlon and keep it fun. Keep it a little less competitive. Focus more on the accomplishments and the finishing than the actual time.”

The Fernie Kids’ Triathlon will take place at the Fernie Aquatic Centre, starting at 11 a.m. on Sept. 18.