Organizers of the REDY Youth Triathlon are making preparations for the event held exclusively for the area’s youngest triathletes. In order to make this event accessible to all youth who want to participate, for the first time the registration fee has been set at $10.
The triathlon, presented by the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Healthy Aroostook, and The Aroostook Medical Center, is scheduled for Sunday, September 11. The organizations offered this event for the first time in 2013. After a hiatus last year, they are bringing the REDY Youth Triathlon back to The County.
“TAMC is continuously looking for ways to promote a healthy lifestyle that is engaging to our youth,” said Glenda Dwyer, TAMC interim president. “One of the more prevalent problems we face is youth obesity. We think this event is a fun way to get kids active, and we can’t wait to cheer them on.”
The youth triathlon will consist of swimming, biking, and running. Triathletes between the ages of 7 and 9 will swim 50 yards, bike 2 miles, and run one-half mile. Participants between the ages of 10 and 12 will swim 50 yards, bike 2.5 miles, and run 1 mile. And those participants who are 13 or 14 will swim 100 yards, bike 2.5 miles and run 1 mile.
Popular local mascot REDY will be on hand to encourage triathletes to stay active, eat a healthy diet, and avoid spending too much time in front of the television. Event organizers named the triathlon after the well-known mascot because he embodies what the triathlon is all about, which is providing kids with an opportunity to get active in a fun, safe, and supportive environment.
The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host the event. Participants will have an opportunity to swim in the Gentile Hall pool and run and bike through much of the scenic campus. University officials are looking forward to welcoming triathletes, their families, and volunteers to campus.
“We are very pleased to be partnering with TAMC and Healthy Aroostook for this special event that showcases so well the work our organizations do to encourage physical activity and healthy lifestyles,” said UMPI Interim President Ray Rice. “It’s always impressive to see what local youth are able to accomplish during the REDY Youth Triathlon and we look forward to seeing a large contingent of young triathletes on the course around campus this year. We’d encourage the community to join us in cheering on these inspirational competitors.”
According to Jamie Guerrette, race director and community health specialist at TAMC, helping participants stay safe while navigating the course is a top priority. In order to ensure that participants have a fun, safe day, a wealth of volunteers has been recruited to help on the course, in the transition station, and in the pool.
“Everything is coming together very well,” said Guerrette. “We’ve had a lot of adults step up to the plate to volunteer, but of course we could always use more.”
Guerrette also wants to assure children who are interested that it is not too late to get in the training that they may need to prepare. In addition to training on their own, triathlon organizers are offering a pre-event training opportunity. Athletes will be able to see and test the course at a training session scheduled for August 14th at 4:00 p.m. at UMPI. The session will help participants increase endurance in the pool, become familiar with the course, and build physical skills that will help them stay strong during the event.
“TAMC is committed to keeping this event affordable for families,” said Guerrette. “TAMC is sponsoring the event so that we can keep the registration cost down to only $10 per child. We want every child who wants to compete to be able to, so there are also scholarships available if necessary.
The triathlon is still a few weeks away, and organizers are looking forward to welcoming youth from all over Aroostook County. It is important to pre-register as space is limited to only 100 youth.
Check-in for parents and athletes will be at 9:00 a.m. and the race begins at 10:00 at UMPI’s Gentile Hall. For more information about the triathlon or to register, please go to www.redyyouthtriathlon.org.