When the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District holds its annual Youth and Adult TRYathlons each year, it places the emphasis on completion rather than competition.
This year’s event at the Cook Creek Pool in Lone Tree on July 30 drew more than 150 participants and featured five age categories, allowing athletes of all levels to test their abilities in the three-event race.
Sarah Nielson, athletic coordinator for South Suburban, said there are so many competitive triathlons that the district has been offering the recreational TRYathlons to get people excited about trying one.
“The TRYathlons are for people who want to try it for the first time and who might be intimidated by the open-water swim.” Nielson said.
The event had plenty of lifeguards on hand and was open to competitors ranging from as young as 5 to adult. Each age group had its own distances and the only entry requirement, other than a $20 fee, was the participants' ability to swim unaided in deep water.
Highlands Ranch resident Sekou Jones took advantage of the opportunity to team up with his 11-year-old daughter Natalie. The father-daughter duo had T-shirts printed for the race and rode a tandem bike in the four-mile bike ride.
“This is an awesome thing that we can do together,” Sekou said as they exited the pool after the swim. “Everybody says they grow up so fast, so I’m savoring it.”
Jodi Peterson, of Castle Pines, said she entered last year’s event and tries to do at least one a year as part of her fitness program.
“This is a family-friendly event,” Nielson said. “The kids can do their race, and the parents can do one as well.”
In the week preceding the TRYathlons, South Suburban held a five-day triathlon camp to help participants up to 12 years old train for the events and learn how to transition quickly from the swim to the ride and then to the run. Susan Williams, the first U.S. triathlete to win an Olympic medal, was a guest coach at the camp. Williams won the bronze at the 2004 games in Athens.
According to Nielsen, the event is the second of three TRYathlons planned by South Suburban Parks and Recreation this year. The first was held at the Goodson Recreation Center in Centennial on June 26, and the third is planned as an indoor race at Goodson this fall.
The events at the indoor TRYathlon will be held in reverse order, beginning with the run, followed by a stationary bike ride and finishing with the swim.
More information about the TRYathlons is available at the SSPRD website at www.ssprd.org/tryathlon