Q. What is a kids triathlon?
A. Triathlon is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and kids triathlons are a vital part of this trend. There is no better way for any child to experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle focused on daily exercise and good nutrition.
Every triathlon consists of 4 components – swimming, biking, running and transitions. At the Nashville Kids Triathlon, kids will only race against other kids in their same age group. We will utilize a time trial start in the Sportsplex pool meaning each racer will enter the pool one at a time. As they complete their swim, they will enter the transition area to begin the bike portion of the race. After completing their ride, they will reenter transition, drop-off their bike and exit onto the run course. The run is the final portion of the race. Computerized timing chips are used to track each participant throughout each part of the race. Below are the actual race distances for each of the age groups.
Q. What are the actual race distances?
A. The races are divided into 2 divisions. The Junior Division is for kids, ages 6 to 10, and they will swim 100 yards; bike 3 miles and run 0.5 miles. The Senior Division is for kids, ages 11 to 15, and they will swim 200 yards; bike 6 miles; and run 1.0 miles.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. Registration for the Nashville Kids Triathlon is $35. In addition, every participant must be a member of USATriathlon. One-day memberships are available for $10 as part of the registration process. As part of the entry fee, every participants receives a race goody bag full of cool stuff, including a race t-shirt. All finishers also receive post-race snacks, drinks, ice cream and a finisher medal. Participants are also eligible to win 1 of more than 20 prizes (worth more than $2,000) to be given away during the post-race raffle.
Q. At what age does my child race?
A. According to the rules of USATriathlon (the governing body of the sport in the U.S.), all triathletes (kids included) race for the entire year at their age as of 12/31 of that year. For example, a kid who turns 11 on October 12th of this year races as an 11 year-old for the entire year (even though he still may be 10 on race day).
Q. How many kids will be participating in the race?
A. Registration will be limited to 800 racers, and we do expect a sellout. The number of participants in each age group may vary, but total participation of 800 will make the Nashville Kids Triathlon one of the ten largest kids triathlons in the U.S.A.
Q. How old do I have to be?
A. According to new rules just implemented by USA Triathlon, you must be at least 6 years old on December 31, 2013 in order to participate. On the other end of the spectrum, anyone turning 16 before December 31, 2013 will not be allowed to race. Age guidelines are established by the USATriathlon.
Q. Can I really complete a triathlon?
A. Race distances are set by the USATriathlon and designed to be challenging, yet achievable – even for first-timers. The word triathlon can scare people into thinking it is something they could never do. Plain and simple, if your child can swim 4 laps in a pool and ride their bike for 20 minutes without stopping, they can successfully complete a kids triathlon. If they cannot do this now, there still may be time to set some goals and to get them ready to race.
Q. Where will the events take place?
A. Beautiful Centennial Park in Nashville is home to the Nashville Kids Triathlon. The swim will take place in the Sportsplex pool, and the bike and run courses will be on closed roadways in and around the park.
Q. What are the dates for the event?
A. Packet pick-up will be held during the Pre-Race Pep Rally on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. Race day is Sunday, May 19, 2013, and it will start with a sunrise service at 6:15am in the park. The actual races will start at 8:00am.
Q. Who is putting on the race?
A. The Nashville Kids Triathlon is being organized by Kids Triathlon, Inc. which is a 501c(3) organization based in Jacksonville, FL. Its sole mission is to utilize the sport of triathlon to help build a generation of healthy, active kids. Team Magic of Nashville is the official USATriathlon Race Director. In addition, The YMCA of Middle Tennessee, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and Nashville Parent are the three Founding Partners of the event in Nashville.
Q. Are there training groups available?
A. Yes. 12 locations across the YMCA of Middle Tennessee network are offering 7-week Introduction to Triathlon Programs. These courses require pre-registration but are offered for FREE to everyone. That’s right. . . they are open to both members and non-members of the YMCA at no charge. The Programs will start in late March, and each session will be led by an athletic trainer and an experienced triathlete.
Registration is required and space is limited to 20 kids per location. You can visit the YMCA website, YMCAMidTN.org, or the race website, NashvilleKidsTriathlon.org, for all the details.
Q. Do I need a special bike?
A. No. All shapes, sizes, makes and models of bikes are welcome. BMX bikes, beach cruisers and everything in between are welcome. As a note, there are a few hills on the course so a bike with at least a few gears certainly will help.
Q. Can my bike have training wheels?
A. No. This is one of the new rules implemented by USATriathlon as of the 2012 season. It is intended to increase safety for everyone, and this may be just what is needed to get the boy or girl to “drop those training wheels” and ride on their own.
Q. What equipment do I need to complete a triathlon?
A. While there is a lot of stuff you can buy to complete a triathlon, you only need a few things. First, you need a swimsuit. Goggles are optional (but helpful). Once out of the pool, a bike and bike helmet (absolutely mandatory) are required. Of course, a comfortable pair of sneakers is also needed. That is about all that is required.
In addition to these items, many kids will bring a towel to keep in their transition area. And, a lot of kids bring a t-shirt to wear during the bike and run (though it is perfectly fine to race in your swimsuit). Socks are optional, but a little tricky to put on when your feet are wet. Finally, a big bottle of water is always smart.
Q. Can we participate as a team?
A. Yes. It is true that triathlon is primarily an individual sport (and each child does complete the race on their own). However, this event offers a very unique program to encourage schools, churches and other organizations to compete as teams. First, this helps kids (and parents) get over any nervousness as they will be among friends. Second, it can become an outstanding fundraiser. Plain and simple, every group that registers 10 or more kids for the event will receive a donation of $10 per kid to their organization. If you register 35 kids, your group will receive a $350 check for its efforts. Team tents, signs and cheers are encouraged, and many teams will actually train together during the weeks leading up to race day. To register your team, just call Wes Hires, Team Coordinator for Nashville. He can be reached at 904.448.2460.
Q. What actually happens on race day?
A. Race day is scheduled for Sunday, May 19, 2013 All of the action will start with a Sunrise Service at 6:15am in Centennial Park. At 6:30am, the transition area (where all of your gear is kept during the race) will open. This will allow you to organize everything you need to race and get ready for your first triathlon. At 7:40am, there will be a mandatory pre-race briefing for all participants, and the first kids will enter the pool at 8:00am sharp.
A time trial start is utilized for safety with one kid at a time entering the pool about 5 seconds apart. The youngest kids go first. Once the swim is done, the kids will run to transition where they will get their shoes, bikes and helmets and enter the bike course. After completing the bike portion of the race, it is back into transition to drop off their bike. From here, they start the run that ends with crossing the finish line. Each child will wear a computerized chip to keep track of their times throughout the race.
Once all kids have completed the race (and received their finisher medals and free ice cream), everyone will gather in Centennial Park for a post-race raffle and awards ceremony. One lucky participant will even leave with a brand new bike!
Q. When can I pick up my race number and packet?
A. All participants are being asked to attend our Pre-Race Pep Rally on Saturday, May 18, 2013 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm. This is the only scheduled time for packet and race number pick-up, though we will try to accommodate special exceptions.
There will NOT be any packet pick-up or registration on Race Day.
Also, we encourage everyone to participate in the Pre-Race Pep Rally, as it is always helpful to preview the course before the race. And, it will give everyone a chance to meet the Celebrity Big Kids™, get autographs and take photos.
Q. What should I eat the night before the race?
A. While every person is different, most experts do NOT suggest a heavy meal the night before a race. Every racer will need a lot of energy, so a traditional pasta dinner or other meal with lots of carbohydrates and some protein is quite common.
Of course, you know your body and normal eating habits better than anyone. It is always safe to follow those. The only thing almost everyone agrees on. . . it is NOT a good time to try a new food for the first time.
Q. What if it rains?
A. Triathlon is an all-weather sport. While we certainly will postpone the start of a race if dangerous conditions exist, the races will go ahead on Sunday, May 18, rain or shine. Please remember that safety is our top priority so short delays may be requested by the Race Direct/or if conditions require them.
Q. What should I eat for breakfast on Race Day?
A. Again, it is best to listen to your body and to do what feels right. It also depends on what time you get up and what time you are racing. The Juniors (who race at 8:00am and 8:30am) should eat something light that is a good source of carbohydrates 2 hours before the start of your race. As for the Seniors (racing at 9:45am and 10:15am), it is easier to eat a normal breakfast early in the morning because your body will have more time to digest the food. One thing you do NOT want to do is skip breakfast on Race Day. You will need all the energy you can get to complete the race.