MANSFIELD - The Tioga County Branch YMCA will host their second Strong Kids Triathlon at 11 a.m. Sept. 7. Children ages 3 to 15 and older, at all skill levels, are encouraged to participate. Four age and skill divisions will ensure that each child is able to participate at a level they are comfortable. Registration and check-in will begin at 10 a.m. at the Smythe Park pavilion.
"The Y is a starting place for community kids to learn about developing healthy habits that they will carry with them throughout life," said Elisabeth Miranda, Tioga County Branch YMCA executive director. "This triathlon will give kids the opportunity to set and reach personal goals, improve skills, achieve a sense of accomplishment, be active with other kids and enjoy fun competition."
YMCA personal trainer Zach Osborne said, "Training for the Strong Kids Triathlon is a great way to keep children healthy and active while preparing to complete all of the events in the triathlon. It is also an opportunity for the entire family to spend time together while practicing healthy habits."
He shared some tips to guide parents as they prepare children to participate:
Children should be able to cover the swim distance comfortably; it should not be a struggle.
The type of stroke your child uses is not important but freestyle is the fastest; whatever stroke your child is comfortable with is the stroke he or she should use.
Don't overdo it. Focus on short distances and gradually progress.
Practice transitions between events.
Practice pacing (not sprinting).
Make sure children do some training in each event at least once a week.
Celebrate small successes.
Training should be fun and exciting.
The first two legs of the triathlon, running and biking, will take place in and around Smythe Park. The final leg, swimming, will take place at Mansfield's Borough Pool. Children will be welcome to ride what they are comfortable with during the "bike" portion of the race including a scooter or training wheels; flotation devices will be available at the pool for children who need assistance.
Parents are encouraged to assist young children with the transition between events. Every child will receive a medal and a T-shirt is guaranteed for those who register before Aug. 31. There is a cost for the event and there will be a discount for those who before Aug. 31.
The Tioga County Branch YMCA's Strong Kids Triathlon will be a true community event; many local volunteers and businesses are involved and providing support.
"Leaders of our advisory board as well as other community volunteers have been instrumental in planning and garnering support for this event. We couldn't do it without them and we are extremely grateful," Miranda said. "Tioga County kids and families will benefit, thanks to the numerous sponsors who have committed to support this event."
Proceeds from the triathlon will support the Tioga County Branch YMCA's annual Strong Kids Campaign. The Strong Kids Campaign provides scholarships to community families who cannot afford YMCA membership or program fees. The YMCA is committed to serving everybody, regardless of ability to pay. Strong Kids Triathlon proceeds will fund scholarships that will allow local children and their families to benefit from programs that enhance youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
For more information or to register, call 662-2999.