With warmer weather right around the corner, several local organizations are in the process of planning two summer triathlons, one for adults and the other for youth.
Tri Aroostook, scheduled to take place on June 29th at the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI), is a collaboration of event organizers, UMPI, and TAMC. The triathlon is open to anyone over the age of 15.
"I'm excited about the team we've brought together for this event," said Jonathan Kelley, Tri Aroostook race director. "Last year's event was a success, and we are looking to build upon what we achieved to make this year's competition even better. We're well into the planning process, and having UMPI on board for the second time and TAMC's support for the first time will help us put on a safe, professional, fun event."
The event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon, the nation's official governing body of triathlon. Competitors will swim 525 yards in the Gentile Hall pool, bike 10.25 miles to the south of Presque Isle, and run 3.1 miles in the fields and trails next to the UMPI campus.
"It's a beautiful course, and participants will love the scenery," added Kelley. "You don't need to be a pro to participate. Anyone who is fit and has done a little bit of training will have a good experience. Those who are not interested in completing the entire event can participate on a relay team, where each person on a team of three completes a segment of the triathlon."
For aspiring young triathletes, the REDY...Set...Let's Go! Youth Triathlon returns for a second year. Kids between the ages of 7 and 13 can participate in the event, which will be held on September 8th at UMPI. Healthy Aroostook, UMPI, and TAMC are partnering to hold the event.
"Over 60 athletes participated in last year's event, and we're looking to welcoming 100 kids this year," said Reegan Brown, the event director and a community education specialist with Healthy Aroostook. "Though it is a competition, our sole focus is on making sure that kids have a great time being active while staying safe."
Last year's event was the first triathlon experience for many of the kids who participated. Brown hopes that many others who have never taken part in a triathlon will give this year's event a try.
"A little bit of preparation will help participants have an enjoyable experience," she said. "We have scheduled several training sessions between March and August in Presque Isle and Houlton to help kids get ready for the triathlon. Both beginners and more experienced young athletes can join us for swimming, yoga, Zumba, running, and biking. These sessions are free to anyone who has registered for the Youth Triathlon."
Most of the training sessions will be held right on the UMPI campus, which will allow kids to become familiar with the facilities prior to the triathlon. According to UMPI President Linda Schott, the UMPI campus is a fitting home for the triathlons.
"We are so pleased to be partnering again with TAMC and Healthy Aroostook on the region's only youth triathlon, and to collaborate with TAMC on northern Maine's only USA Triathlon-sanctioned event," UMPI President Linda Schott said. "The University is a major proponent of physical activity and healthy lifestyles, rooted in the legacy left to us by our own Dr. Caroline Gentile, who spent a lifetime promoting health and physical education. We're delighted to have Gentile Hall, named in her honor, serve as the home base for both of these events."
The event is also a great fit for TAMC, which will provide volunteers and logistical and promotional support for the events. According to TAMC President & CEO Sylvia Getman, the triathlons are another way that TAMC is involved in combatting sedentary lifestyles.
"We are supportive of efforts to help people of all ages get active," she said. "The athletes who participate in these triathlons benefit from the events, but also from the work that goes into preparing for them. Both the youth and adult participants are role models for others who are looking to live a healthier lifestyle. We couldn't be more pleased to be a part of these events."
Registration for the adult triathlon is open, and registration for the youth event will be open soon. To register for Tri Aroostook, visit triaroostook.com. Registration for the REDY...Set...Let's Go! Youth Triathlon can be found at redyyouthtriathlon.org.