Last Friday when I spoke with Lisa Trimper, wellness professional for Eastern Maine Medical Center and coordinator for the second annual Cub Tracks Youth Triathlon planned for Sunday, Sept. 26, she was actually setting up the course at the University of Maine in Orono.
The event attracted 160 children between the ages of 7 and 13 in 2009 and the hope of sponsors this year is that 208 youths will participate.
Space is limited to that number, however, and pre-registration, which is required, closes Monday, Sept. 20.
The event begins with a mandatory pre-race meeting at noon followed by the triathlon at 1 p.m. The cost is $20 per child.
To register, visit www.active.com. The keyword search is cub tracks.
More information also is available by calling 973-4600 or visiting www.emmc.org.
Lisa said children ages 7-9 swim 50 yards, bike two miles, and walk or jog or run a half mile.
Youngsters ages 10-13 swim 100 yards, bike 2.5 miles and run/walk one mile.
“Everybody completes the course,” she explained, adding “the courses are set up age-appropriately so that every child is able to accomplish” his or her goal “and have fun doing it.”
Part of that feeling of accomplishment, and much of the fun, is the fact that Olympic Gold-medal-winning swimmer and former Maine resident Ian Crocker is the featured guest.
Ian will not only be on hand to encourage the young athletes before and during the event, but to pres-ent each one of them with a medal at the end of the triathlon.
And the young participants can have their photographs taken with him as well.
Although he no longer lives in Maine, Lisa said Ian “is returning to his home state” to participate in this event.
“He is very generous in giving back to the community. He grew up in Maine and loves the opportunity to come back here and he really enjoyed it last year.”
In fact, Lisa said, at the end of the event last year, Ian said he’d love to keep dong this, which is why he was asked to return.
“He really sees a need for kids to increase their physical activity” and wants to “continue encouraging them to do that.”
Cub Tracks Youth Triathlon is sponsored by EMMC, the University of Maine and Kohl’s Cares for Kids program.
Lisa believes the most important thing for youngsters and their parents or guardians to understand is that while this is a “competitive event, it’s really a friendly competition.
“The idea is for each child to do the best he or she can: Just to be out there and to be active,” she said.
When I asked if children should do anything special to prepare for the Triathlon, Lisa suggested they “just continue being active by riding bikes, or maybe they could walk or jog to school.”
She also suggested children take advantage of any opportunity to swim, or even take a few lessons if that were available, but emphasized the most important thing for them to do would be to “continue some type of physical activity program.”
However, Lisa wants everyone to remember this event does not focus on the competitive aspect.
The goal is to get young children involved in this type of physical activity; for them to give it their best; have a great time doing it and have the opportunity to meet an Olympic champion.
Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; email@example.com; 990-8288.