Part of Kids Triathlon Inc., Atlanta Kids Triathlon and its YMCA partners are offering free, weekly training sessions beginning this week for local residents ages 6 to 15, regardless of whether or not they are Y members, leading up to the Atlanta Kids Triathlon itself Aug. 26.
The Carl E. Sanders YMCA in Buckhead will be one of 11 host sites around Atlanta offering the sessions. At that branch, they will be Thursdays from 5 to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 to 11 a.m., until the big race held at the West Gwinnett Aquatic Center in Norcross.
There will be events for kids ages 6 to 10 (100-yard swim, 3-mile bike and 0.5-mile run) and 11 to 15 (200-yard swim, 6-mile bike and 1-mile run).
“Most kids learn how to ride a bike or have a bike,” YMCA Buckhead Group Vice President Kristin McEwen said. “They can run and they can learn how to swim. Being able to combine those, and put them in an event where their parents are cheering them on and have them complete that and be so proud of themselves is really what it’s all about.”
The training sessions will focus on instructing kids on the swimming, biking, running and transitioning involved in a triathlon. Participants also will receive a weekly workout plan to keep them active leading up to the race.
Yvette Hassell, an associate wellness director at the Buckhead YMCA, is one of the volunteers facilitating the practices.
“We’re really excited about offering this to our children and the community, because exercise is what’s important to us,” Hassel said. “We’ve never offered this experience to the community and letting people participate is such an exciting experience.”
Tom Gildersleeve, the event director for Atlanta Kids Triathlon, expects 1,000 children to participate in the event. Kids Triathlon Inc. has previously held races in Jacksonville and Nashville, and by year’s end will have events in Houston, Boston, Atlanta and Dallas as well.
“It’s designed for first-timers,” he said. “Part of our goal is to introduce new kids to the sport and a big reason is we see the lifelong benefits. Someone can be 8 or 80 and do a triathlon. You’re competing against yourself, for the most part.”
Information: (404) 350-9292.