Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Shropshire Kids Fun Triathlon - A Great Event!

The swimming course at Dearnford Lake
On Saturday, J completed his first triathlon at the ripe old age of 7!  It's something that no-one in our family has ever done and we are immensely proud of him, not just because he wanted to do it to raise money for the RNLI Lifeboats, but also because he did it with a big smile on his face.

The triathlon was organised by UK Triathlon and took place at Dearnford Lake in Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Ready for the swim
Pre-event briefing
The event

The triathlon was very well organised from booking right through to the end of the event. Booking could be done online or by telephone and was very easy. The cost of entry was £20 which I thought was good value considering the amount of organisation involved and that a souvenir t-shirt was included. Registration at the event was also quick and easy. We were given J's t-shirt, race number, bike sticker and two wristbands, one for J and one for an adult who could enter the bike rack area to help him during transition.

The event was divided into age groups with different distances for each group.

Age 7-8: 25 metre swim, 1 km cycle, 500 metre run
Age 9-12: 50 metre swim, 2 km cycle, 1 km run
Age 13-16: 100 metre swim, 3 km cycle, 1.5 km run

The swim was in the lake and was very safe.  There was a lane rope which children could hold on to if they needed to catch their breath and divers and canoeists in the water to help the children if necessary.

The location

Dearnford Lake is a beautiful setting.  It's family-run and has a lovely cafe on site where we enjoyed yummy ice creams and cakes after the triathlon.  The cafe also serves breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas and I'm sure we will be returning to sample some of these before too long.

There is also a children's playground, walks around the lake and, for the more adventurous, wild swimming in the lake for a £5 fee.

Into transition

End of the bike lap
On the day

Following registration, we took J's bike and kit to the transition area.  We racked his bike and laid out his trainers, towel, helmet and water bottle.  As newcomers to this triathlon business, I had a bit of a nosey to see how other people had done it first! We then had time for a bite to eat which, as we were very lucky with the weather, was a picnic by the lake. Lovely!

As it got nearer to J's start time,we headed down to the lake. The children had individual start times and entered the water one at a time at regular intervals.  About 10 minutes before their start time, children were given a short briefing in small groups. The man told them the information they needed to know but also joked with them and high-fived them all. I'm sure that helped to relax the kids and dispel some of their pre-event nerves. I'm not sure it helped the nerves of all the parents standing on the side though!

I made a quick dash up to the transition area to make sure I was in position for when J appeared. I managed a quick photo of him running towards me and then it was all stations go helping him to make the quick change: swimming top off, feet dry, socks on, shoes on, t-shirt and number on, helmet on, bike unracked ... GO, GO, GO ... and he was safely off on the 1 km cycle, followed by the 500 metre run. Phew!

At the end of the cycle, marshals took the bikes and helmets and racked them so the children could go straight into the run. As J approached the finish line his name was called out over the PA system, as well as the fact that he was raising money for the RNLI.  All children received medals for completing the course and, quite rightly, there were lots of very proud parents and grandparents cheering them to the finish line!  Well done to all the budding little Brownlees who took part! They were brilliant.

Nearing the finish line
Well done - you did it!
The verdict

J thoroughly enjoyed doing the Shropshire Kids Fun Triathlon and is looking forward to doing it again!  I would highly recommend it to any child who likes swimming, cycling and running and enjoys being active. Many of the children were taking part in their first triathlon and it was a very safe and supportive environment. Thank you to UK Triathlon for a very well organised and fun event and to Dearnford Lake for such a beautiful location. We will definitely be back next year!

J has raised more than £340 so far for the RNLI.  He still has to do the second part of his fundraising challenge, the Lichfield Family Fun Run in September, so it's not too late to sponsor him.  If you would like to sponsor him please click here. Thank you.

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