The kids were split into groups based on gender and age for a
total of eight groups, and each athlete, all tackling a swim, bike
and run portion, received a medal for his or her efforts.
When all was said and done at the conclusion of the Gilroy Kids Triathlon, Judy Janisch, a Gilroy recreation supervisor, reflected on her favorite part of the event. It wasn’t the sponsors, though those were helpful of course, the free stuff or the competition itself. Her favorite part was seeing the kids’ happiness in participating in something that is good for them.
“This one little girl I thought maybe the way she was swimming she was struggling. But every time she came up, she had this big grin on her face. It was neat to see,” Janisch said.
Kids, decked out in their best racing gear, decorated the pool, track and the basketball courts all scrambling to cross the finish line at the third annual race organized by Janisch and Gilroy’s recreation coordinator Veronica Torrez on Saturday at Gilroy High School.
More than 110 kids, ages 5 to13, participated in the event, which wasn’t just focused on the competition aspect, Janisch said.
“Our big promotion of the whole event is more of a health-and-fitness-kind-of ordeal,” she said.
The kids were split into groups based on gender and age for a total of eight groups, and each athlete, all tackling a swim, bike and run portion, received a medal for his or her efforts.
Fun was the name of the game with kids running around, getting on bikes – some excelling at the swim portion while others excelled at other parts of the race.
But perhaps the most rewarding part of the whole process was the parents’ support and encouragement of their youngsters.
Phrases such as “I’m so proud of you,” were not uncommon, as parents demonstrated a very positive outlook on the event.
“Isn’t this a great way to start your day?,” one mother whispered to her child.
There were “stars” of the event as well, including Audrey Lee (29 minutes, 19.7 seconds) and Kyle Hudson (27:42.5) of the 11-to-13 year olds.
The age group had to negotiate a 100-meter swim, 4-mile bike ride and 1-mile run.
Hudson won his age group last year and did it again this year. Hudson said he has competed in five triathlon races so far and won three. Tired was the only word he used to describe his state after the race – and with good reason. After the swim portion, Hudson ended up a full minute behind the leaders but made up the time during the bike race, which was by far his strongest point. Max Hudson, Kyle’s father, said Kyle is a member of the San Jose Bike Club and rode 75 miles last week and training three to four hours per day is typical.
Lee, who perhaps may have been the most experienced triathlon athlete in the field, said she competes in the Iron Kid Series on a regular basis.
“This is kind of like a fun run for me,” Lee said.
Sierra Ceballos (26:07.7) and Trent Itow (26:02.9) won the female and male 9-and-10 year old race. The athletes in that group conquered a 75-meter swim, 3-mile bike ride and 3/4-mile run.
Summer Ceballos (12:00.3) and Zach Park (14:14) crossed in first after completing a 50-meter swim, 1-mike bike ride and 1/2-mile run in the female and male 7-and-8 year old groupings.
Sydnee Bielecki (12:03.2) and Julian Anhder (10:16.5) were the victors in the female and male 5-and-6 year old competition, a list of participants who weathered a 25-meter swim, 3/4-mile bike trip and 1/4-jaunt.
Over 100 volunteers aided in keeping the course in top shape and the triathlon attracted an increase of about 40 participants from last year’s numbers. Janisch said they hope to continue the tradition of the Kids Triathlon and go a fourth competition next year.