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YOUTH SPOKEN

Triathlon introduces kids to the event

By Cristin Morgan | Published Thursday, May 19, 2011

Children from all around participated in the Hooty’s Kid’s Tri Saturday May 7.

“The kid’s tri is fun,” Mike Bowers, race director said. “To see the kids enjoy it and have fun with it is exciting.”

The triathlon was divided into two categories: ages 6 and younger and ages 7 to 10.

Cristin Morgan

“The 6 and younger swim 25 yards, bike one mile and run a half mile,” Bowers said. “Ages 7 to 10 swim 50 yards, bike two miles, and run one mile.”

Bowers does everything he can to make this a great day for the kids.

“All I want is for the kids to have a good experience,” He said. “As the race director I mostly have concern for the kids’ safety.”

Shannon Puphal, mother of a participant, was thrilled with the turnout.

“I think it went really smooth,” she said. “There were a lot of volunteers and it was a safe course.”

Puphal’s 2 1/2- year old daughter, Avery, was the youngest to perform this triathlon.

“We went there with no expectations,” Puphal said. “We just wanted her to have fun.”

Avery was more than excited to complete this triathlon because she watches her mom do them.

“I started doing triathlons two years ago and I probably do six to eight a year,” Puphal said.

This was Avery’s first kid’s triathlon, and her family was there to support her.

“I was with her every step of the way,” Puphal said. “I was even in the water with her.”

Puphal wasn’t the only one right next to her daughter.

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“Avery decided she didn’t want to do the bike, so we went straight for the run,” Puphal said. “Her grandma and I were running with her and dad was taking pictures the whole time.”

Avery had a great experience and may come back next year to do it again.

“[The most exciting part as a parent] was to see her smile the entire time,” Puphal said, “being active and having fun, especially with other kids.”

Bowers saw excitement in all the parents there supporting their kid’s.

“They have lots of enthusiasm for their kids. They seem very proud and have a real interest in what their kids are doing,” Bowers said.

The parents aren’t the only ones proud of all these kids. The kids are proud of themselves also.

“This tri builds the kids’ self confidence,” Bowers said.” To accomplish stuff like this makes them know anything is possible.”

Twenty-five kid’s participated in this triathlon. This is the second year for 7-year-old Brandon Mullins to compete.

“It was fun,” Mullins said. “This year I went a longer distance because I am in the older age group.”

Just like Avery, Mullins’ family was there supporting him.

“My mom, dad, and two sisters were there cheering me on,” Mullins said. “It makes me go faster when I see and hear them.”

Mullins’ favorite part of the triathlon was the swimming.

“I like being in the water, so the swimming was fun,” Mullins said.

Mullins said completing this triathlon is more then just winning a medal.

“It makes me feel awesome to have completed it,” he said. “It also makes you stronger which makes you want to do more.”

Mullins hopes to keep competing in triathlons for a long time. His older sister, Casie Morgan, inspires him because she competes in them as well.

“My sister gives me tips and helps me get better,” Mullins said. “I want to be like her one day.”

With two different age groups, Bowers saw different expressions on the kids’ faces.

“It seems the older ones are determined and serious,” Bowers said. “The younger ones seemed to have more fun with it.”

Children and adults are inspired by this event Bowers has put on for three years now.

“I think it’s a great opportunity, especially for our community,” Puphal said. “There aren’t many kid’s triathlons. Especially for young ones like my daughter.”

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