On July 15, around 300 kids will line up on the beach at Frank Murphy County Park in their cap and goggles, ready to take on a short course of the Door County Triathlon with all the bells and whistles of the major event.
“The kids really get into it because it has all the trappings of the half-iron race for adults,” said Myles Dannhausen Jr., director for the kids event. “They get swim caps, shirts, and all the pre-race hype and announcements.”
The event is part of the Door County Triathlon weekend, taking place after the sprint event on Saturday morning and followed by the half-iron event on Sunday morning.
For the Marcotte family of northwest Indiana, the kids’ triathlon has turned the event into a family affair.
“They are funny because half of my kids are very competitive and two are not competitive, but they all want to place,” said Sandi Marcotte, mother of Sam (9), Izzy (11), Jake (12) and Emily (13) who will all participate in the event this weekend. “They want to hear their name at the end. It’s fun to see them try harder than they would otherwise.”
Sandi and her husband, Trevor, have both participated in the sprint race in the past.
For an event that has been challenged by inclement weather, organizers take special precaution to ensure all kids have a safe race. The entire swim course, between 50 and 200 yards depending on age, is lined with lifeguards and the roads are completely closed to traffic during the cycling and running legs.
“It’s really well organized, it’s very encouraging,” said Marcotte. “Everybody who’s helping is super nice and the whole event is really fun for the family and for the kids to get excited about.”
“Last year I had two nieces and a nephew do it,” said Dannhausen. “After seeing it, now all of them want to, so it does spur the kids to want to get active and try something new and challenging.”
After coming down the finishing chute lined with banners and spectators, hearing their name blasted over the loudspeakers and feeling the weight of a medal hanging off their neck, a kid can’t help but feel the same accomplishment any adult feels during the triathlon weekend.
The free ice cream at the finish line doesn’t hurt.
To learn more about the kids’ triathlon or to register, visit doorcountytriathlon.com.