Coinciding with National Kids to Parks Day, the City of Sparks hosted a kids triathlon last Saturday open to youth ages 4-14. Thirty-six kids swam, biked, and ran in and around the Alf Sorensen Community Center in a non-competitive and fun atmosphere as a way to introduce local families to the triathlon world.
“It was awesome, 36 kids participated and they had so much fun,” says City of Sparks Recreation Specialist Tanja Ramociotti. Fifty to 60 spectators mostly comprised of parents and grandparents cheered their loved ones on as they swam laps in the community pool and then went outside to bike and run around the building.
“This event gives little kids an opportunity to be introduced to the triathlon world,” Ramociotti says. She added that this event is unique because it differentiates from traditional events like baseball, soccer, and softball and there’s not a lot of track and field programs in the area.
The City of Sparks, Washoe County, City of Reno, and Carson City Parks and Recreation departments used to host this event together years ago. Scheels took over the event for a few years before the four parks and recreation entities regained control of it in 2017. Each agency hosts a version of the triathlon in their respective areas when it fits into their event schedules. “Every agency has their own little track, it’s usually close to a park,” Ramociotti says.
The 2018 Sparks Kids Triathlon had three divisions with 12 kids in the 4-6 year old age group, 16 participants in the 7-9 year old age group, and 10 participants in the 10-14 yr. old age group. Multiple distances were offered based on the age group of participants. For instance, the kids ages 4-6 swam from one side of the pool to the other (25 yards), biked half-a-mile, and then ran .2 of a mile whereas the 10-14 age group swam four laps (100 yards), cycled six times around the parking lot, and ran twice around the Sorensen Community Center building.
This year’s triathlon had many returnees and also hosted a pre-race training day on May 12 to give participants a glimpse into what to expect on race day. All kids received a T-shirt, race bag, and participatory medal after completing the course on May 19.
“The highlight of it was seeing smiles on the kids’ faces when they were hiking, biking, and swimming. We will continue (the Kids Triathlon) as long as the other agencies want to participate. This is a great community event perfect for families and it’s fun for the kids- they really like it. We just want people to keep coming out,” Ramociotti says.
The City of Reno will be hosting its Kids Triathlon June 16, followed by Carson City’s on July 14, and Washoe County’s is scheduled for Aug. 11.