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 ages 7 to 13 in 2009, and the hope of sponsors this year is that 208 youths will participate.
Space is limited to that number, however, and required preregistration closes Monday, Sept. 20.
The event begins with a mandatory pre-race meeting at noon, with the triathlon at 1 p.m. The cost is $20 per child.
To register, visit www.active.com. The key-word 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 2 miles, and walk, jog or run a half-mile.
Youngsters ages 10-13 swim 100 yards, bike 2½ miles, and run or walk 1 mile.
“Everybody completes the course,” she said, adding that “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 be on hand not only to encourage the young athletes before and during the event, but also to present each one with a medal at the end of the triathlon.
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,” she said. “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 would love to keep doing 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.”
The Cub Tracks Youth Triathlon is sponsored by EMMC, the University of Maine and Kohl’s Cares for Kids program.
Lisa believes that 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 they are available, but emphasized that the most important thing for them to do is to “continue some type of physical activity program.”
However, Lisa wants everyone to remember that this event does not focus on the competitive aspect.
The goals are to get young children involved in this type of physical activity, 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; firstname.lastname@example.org; 990-8288.