Twins Max and Josh Harker last year at the Lebanon Countryside YMCA triathlon. This year will be their fourth year participating. CONTRIBUTED

Kid’s triathlon: ‘It is a great feeling to cross that finish line’

Countryside YMCA in Lebanon to host annual event.

Kevin and Polly Harker of Lebanon are no strangers to the triathlon. This will be the fourth year for their daughter, Charlie, and their twin sons, Josh and Max.

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“I have loved watching the kids be a part in the triathlon,” Polly said. “The Y does a great job with organizing and setting the goals for each age group. It is an event in which any kid can participate at their own pace. Mine are a little nervous each year, and then proud of themselves at the end after crossing the finish line.”

Charlie, their 12-year-old daughter, is in the seventh grade at Lebanon Junior High. “I really like to compete with my friends,” she said. “This year I would like to improve my time.

“I like the kids’ triathlon because it gives me an opportunity to try new things. I never knew how much I liked triathlons until I did the one at the YMCA.

“My favorite part is biking, because I don’t normally race with a bike. I feel proud of myself when I cross the finish line. And I keep feeling proud every time I think about it.”

The Harker’s 9-year-old twin sons go to Donovan Elementary.

Josh likes the triathlon because of the thrill of the chase: “It is fun to chase your goal and doing something that is kind of hard. My favorite part of the triathlon is the biking. It is fun running down from the pool and changing into your bike clothes and then getting on and going. I just want to do better than I did last year.”

Max said, “I do the triathlon to do it with my friends. I like how it involves swim, biking and running. It is a great feeling to cross that finish line and know that you are finished.

“My favorite part is the running, because it is not easy for me and I like to push myself running. I would like to go faster than I did the year before,” said Max.

“The Healthy Kids Triathlon is a great family event,” said Holly Colon, event coordinator. “Our race is great for beginner racers as well as experienced racers. The kids ages 6-14 swim, bike and run through a very safe course with many volunteers spread out across the course. Our course is designed for the athletes to never set foot on an open road. Athletes swim in our Outdoor Pool, bike on the Countryside Bike Trail and run, cross country style on through the athletic fields right on site at the Countryside YMCA. As the racers cross the finish line they are awarded their finisher medal and then celebrate their success with their families at the Family FunFest. The Family FunFest sports food, bounce houses, water balloon toss and healthy food displays for families to enjoy.”

The $30 entrance fee covers a participant T-shirt, finisher’s medal, goody bag and admission for themselves and one adult to the Family Fun-Fest immediately following the event. The entry fee also allows each child, if they choose, to have a parent in the pool during the swim event.

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