This post begins a series of race recaps that we will be publishing on the different kids triathlons that we travel to. The purpose of these updates and reviews are to document the race happenings and also to provide a race review that will hopefully help others decide if this is a triathlon that they would like to attend.
Nolensville Kids Triathlon was a 1st annual race in Nolensville, TN. Registration was available for USA Triathlon ages 5-14. The majority of the racers were between age 7 and 11. My oldest daughter, 8 years old, had 30 girls in her age group and my middle daughter, 7, had 20 girls in her age group. That is more than we competed against at Nationals two weekends prior! I found this race after the Nashville Kids Triathlon cancelled due to venue issues. Attending a Nashville area triathlon was important to us because I have an uncle/aunt that wanted to see the girls race at least one time this season.
The uncle/aunt are the reason that we started triathlons in the first place. Evie did her first triathlon after my uncle had a horrific bike accident and needed encouragement and support while he was in a spinal rehabilitation center and learning to stand & walk again. My uncle is a 56 time marathoner and a 6 time Ironman, placing in the top ten regularly. I watched him race and train for years, and this injury was a endurance athlete’s worst nightmare. It was good to be local and to have him see the girls race, finish, and podium. He has been a big support to us in the last 3 years of triathlons.
This picture is not the best, but my uncle set up at the finish line in a chair and stood for the girl’s finishes. Two years later, he now walks (with some assistance from a cane). We were so honored to have him there!
We liked this tri for another reason as well, it made us aware of children with physical disabilities. Vanderbilt Buddies is a program that connects athletes with children who have limited athletic capabilities due to a disability. They train to compete in numerous athletic events, one of which is this kids triathlon. They used specialized bicycles with harnesses and shoe cages and a push pole on the back for the able athlete to assist. They used either pool noodles or raft and they swam with the athletes the prescribed distance. For the run, most of them were pushed in large vehicles, similar to strollers. As they approached the finish line, I watched as they pulled over, assisted their athletes into walkers or arm canes, and helped them cross the finish line. There was no whining, there was no crying. There was smiling and excitement and joy. It was really something to watch.
Was this a triathlon that we would do again? We would. Marlee (4) will be stronger next year and will likely have stronger bike handling skills. She did have a bike wreck in a portion of the course that would best be omitted for the “littles”. She is fine, but we need to order a part for her bike and repair it. The distances for her age were a 50 yard swim/2.8 mile bike/0.7 mile run. The 0.7 mile run and 2.8 mile bike were the longest distances that I have seen for this age. This was her 4th triathlon. She competes on a 20″ Islabikes Beinn small.
We have been doing triathlons long enough to know who our competition is, especially at local races. Evie, 8, had some good competition at this race. She placed 5th out of 30 girls in her age group, and her performance was good! She had a decent swim, they swam a 100 yard serpentine style swim. She had a little trouble in transition with her helmet, which is frustrating watching as a parent because I was within reach but they MUST do it themselves. She then went to clip her magnetic belt and missed. She was so frustrated that she left transition in a SPRINT. Never have I seen her do that. She had the 4th fastest bike split. She had a slow run and lost several minutes there. We have known that the run is her weak point for some time now.
Lastly, Addie (7) earned 3rd place out of 20 girls in her age group. We also knew the top competition in her race, as she had raced against several of them at Nationals. She had a race similar to Evie’s, and they had nearly the same split times. We were impressed with the level of competition we found at this race. Also on the podium are Darby Mooney (1st place) and Willow Reuthe (2nd place).
Next post: Getting started, Part 1: Training