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Small, but mighty

Youngsters training for Delnor's annual youth triathlon

Published: Friday, March 29, 2013 2:22 p.m. CDT

Youth athletes looking to tackle a triathlon need look no further than Delnor Health and Wellness Center in Geneva.

 Delnor Health and Wellness, 296 Randall Road, will be home to the 13th Annual Multisport Madness Triathlon Team Youth Triathlon on Sunday, May 26. Both beginners and experienced triathletes ages six through 16 are welcome to compete. “When we think about this event, it's really nice because it introduces new youths to the sport of triathlon,” said race director John Lorenz.

 Participants will be divided into two groups. Those ages six through 10 will compete at the junior level and will run a half-mile on a trail around Delnor, swim 125 meters in the Delnor pool and cycle two miles on neighborhood streets north and west of Delnor. Those ages 11 through 16 will run one mile, swim 125 meters and cycle five miles. The event is professionally time-chipped so racers will get an accurate assessment of the time it took to complete the triathlon. “It is distances that are very reasonable and doable,” Lorenz said. 

 Last year's winner in the junior division was Eric Palmquist, who completed the event in 14 minutes and 28 seconds. The senior division winner last year was Lauren Garriques, who completed the event in 26 minutes and 11 seconds.

 The triathlon serves as a fundraiser for MMTT (formerly known as Multisport Madness Kids). MMTT’s mission is to increase youth involvement in triathlon by training in a team atmosphere. Funds are used for operating costs associated with the team and program. MMTT is a 501(c)3 organization.

 “What we're all about is really exposing kids to the sport of triathlon,” Lorenz said, adding the event is a great recruiting tool. 

Lorenz said about 150 kids generally participate in the event with 50- to 60-percent coming from the Tri-Cities.

 Gina Johnson, a 15-year-old member of the MMTT team, has competed in the race at Delnor every year since she was eight years old. She's been a member of the MMTT team since she was 12.

 “Triathlon is kind of a unique sport and it makes you different from everyone else,” she said. “It's fun because you get to do three things at once.”

 As a dedicated member of MMTT, Johnson practices for about two-and-a-half to three hours at a time four to six days each week “The Delnor race is a lot of fun because I get to be with my teammates and you get to see the young kids try and compete in a new sport,” she said. “... I like the run course at Delnor because it's on a winding path with a bunch of trees by the pond.”

Johnson said the Delnor race is a great first race for people interested in triathlon. Lorenz said there still is plenty of time for a child to prepare if they are interested in trying the triathlon. MMTT's Youth Development Team is starting up practices soon. Contact MMTT online at www.mmtt3.org for information on how to join.

 Johnson has some advice for new triathletes, too.

“Stick with it and try your best because you will improve yourself and it's a lot of fun and it's rewarding,” she said.

 Registration currently is available online at register.itsracetime.com/register/?event=17255. The race entry fee is $40 prior to May 10 and $45 thereafter. More information on the race is available at www.mmtt3.org.

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