Try a Tri, Kids of Steel open to everyone 

The Whistler Triathlon Club has put athletes on podiums and into Ironman races over the years, but one of the group’s goals from the beginning has just been to get more people into swimsuits and grease paint by encouraging more participation in the sport.

Next week (May 24) the club is hosting its fourth Kids of Steel triathlon, sanctioned by Triathlon B.C., as well as its second annual Adult Try-a-Tri race. The events are open to everybody, regardless of their experience, but the focus is always on people who are new to the sport.

“Anybody who wants to race can, but we’re gearing the race to the people who want to try triathlon racing for the first time or are looking for something a little easier than an Olympic distance race,” said Marie-Anne Prevost, who is helping to organize the races.

The triathlon club also wants to hold a full-length Olympic distance race in Whistler someday, using their youth and beginner races as a springboard.

“It’s definitely in our long-term plan,” said Prevost, who is herself an accomplished triathlete. “We’re trying to prove ourselves with these events that we can pull it off with proper sanctioning and insurance, and that we can run fun and safe events. With Vancouver hosting the world championships for the ITU this year and the Olympics (in 2010), we’re expecting a surge of interest in the sport. We’d like to have these events in the community.”

The Kids of Steel triathlon has three age categories. Kids aged 8-11 will do a 100-metre swim in Meadow Park pool, followed by a 4.5 km bike ride on Alta Lake Road, and a 1.5 km run on the Valley Trail. Kids 12-13 do a 300-metre swim, followed by a 10 km bike and a 3 km run. The older kids, 14 and up, will do a 500-metre swim, a 14 km bike and a 4 km run.

The adults Try-a-Tri racers will do a 300-metre swim, a 14 km bike and a 4 km run.

By way of comparison, an Olympic distance triathlon like the Squamish Triathlon features a 1,500-metre swim, 40 km bike, and 10 km run.

The cost of taking part in the Kids of Steel race is $40, plus $5 for race day insurance. The package pickup and bike check is available on Friday, May 23 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Snow Covers, or on the morning of the race from 6:45 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. at Meadow Park.

The adult race is $50 plus $10 for insurance, with the same package pickup and bike check times as the Kids of Steel race.

Registration for both events is available online at www.whistlertriclub.ca.

Volunteers are still needed to help put on the event. If you can spare some time to marshal on the course or otherwise support the athletes, contact Tracy Torrell at ttorrell@telus.net.

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