Triathlon made its first appearance in the 2000 Olympic summer games and is currently the fastest growing sport worldwide. Triathlon is a multi-sport endurance race that is comprised of swimming, biking and running. The Ironman distance, which consists of a 2.4 -mile swim, 112-mile bike and a 26.2-mile run, is the most recognized triathlon distance. However, there are a number of races which are much shorter and more manageable for most athletes. The sport is becoming so popular that there are now kids triathlon series and coaching programs designed for youth triathletes.
Makenna Doan and Natalie Wang of Carmel Valley recently competed in the Chula Vista Challenge and won first place in their age divisions. This local triathlon was designed to give the kids an opportunity to compete in this upcoming sport by altering the distances to make it manageable and fun. While most kids slept in late on Saturday, Aug. 10, a number of kids from Carmel Valley awakened at 4:45 a.m., grabbed a bite to eat and loaded up their gear. It was a chilly morning but you didn’t hear them complain about jumping into the harbor for the open water swim. From there it was onto their bikes and then finishing with an amazing run. Every child had a huge smile and a sense of accomplishment as they crossed the finish line.
The participant growth rate for triathlons has caught the attention of colleges. Letters are being submitted to the NCAA to consider adding triathlon as a college sport. Currently, the sport only needs four more letters for NCAA consideration. From there, 40 schools will need to sponsor the sport in order to achieve NCAA champion status.