Junior athletes make splash in triathlon
June 13, 2013
By Nuck Duke
FORT BENNING, Ga., (June 12, 2013) -- More than 120 kids from throughout the Chattahoochee Valley came out Saturday to participate in the third annual Y Kids Tri triathlon in downtown Columbus.
Cecil Cheves, the race's chairman, said the event's organizers used past experiences to help make this year's race the smoothest yet.
"We've kind of ironed out a lot of the kinks," Cheves said. "We've got the course figured out. We've got road signs figured out. And, we've really got some key volunteers. The police department knows its role, and Wells Fargo loans us their parking lot. The YMCA has a great facility, so with this being the third time through, there actually haven't been any hitches."
Cheves said while the event is competitive for the participants, the real reason for having the triathlon is to promote exercise at a young age.
"Part of what we're trying to do here is teach a healthy lifestyle," Cheves said. "I came up with the idea of Y Kids Tri just to play on the name of the YMCA, but the reason that kids Tri is to make themselves strong in mind, body and spirit. So, we want to teach that active lifestyle and teach them at an early age so that as they get older, they realize that they can run, bike and swim all their lives. It's not just for adults. You don't stop. Just because you grow up and get out of school doesn't mean you stop exercising."
The race was open to children ages 6-13, with all participants starting the race with a swim at the Jack P. Thayer YMCA.
The swim was 50 yards for ages 6-7 and 100 yards for all other age groups.
From there, racers moved on to the bike course, which was 1.5 miles for 6- and 7-year-olds and 3 miles for all other ages.
The event ended with a run, which was a half mile for ages 6-7, one mile for 8- and 9-year-olds and 2 miles for ages 10-13.
Fort Benning was well represented at the event by several participants.
For Kaleigh Feger, the daughter of Kyle Feger, the commander of the Warrior Transition Battalion, it was her first triathlon as a solo competitor after participating as part of a team with her father during the Fort Benning reverse sprint triathlon in May.
She finished seventh among 10- and 11-year-old females with a time of 41:52.
"This was my first triathlon, so I don't know exactly how well I did, but I feel pretty good," she said.
Kaleigh said the run, which featured a hill as part of the course, was the most difficult part of the event.
"Finishing the last part of it was hard because I don't run a lot so it's hard for me to do that at the end," she said. "There's a big hill right there, so it was really hard."
Her father said he expected the run to take a toll on his daughter.
"She didn't seem nervous, but she'd never run two miles in one shot before," Feger said. "She's only run one mile before, so I knew that would be her hardest part."
However, he also said that she had to deal with something besides just the difficult run.
"I was typical dad, so I was probably getting on her nerves with all of the encouragement," he said.
Caleb Theriault finished first among 12- and 13-year-old males with a time of 29:39, while Caitlin Yap had the top time for 12- and 13-year-old females at 31:36.
Luke Dorough topped 23 other racers in the 10- and 11-year-old male category with a time of 29:14, while Lexi Edwards finished first amongst 10- and 11-year-old females with a time of 30:02.
Alec Perkins won the 8- and 9-year-old male category with a time of 19:09, while Danielle Bennett was tops among females of the same age group with a time of 25;34.
Among 6- and 7-year olds, Peter Durham Jr. was the top male with a time of 16:32, while Ashlyn Bennett was the top female with a time of 18:10.