Lessons in sportsmanship, competition and giving it your all will be on the agenda as kids, from age five to 15, run and bike Saturday morning at Altoona Lagoon in the St. Croix Kids’ Duathlon.
The youth duathlon is being held by the V.I. Triathlon Federation, which sponsors the annual St. Croix Half Ironman Triathlon and other races in the territory. VITF race director Barbara Dean spearheaded the creation of the new racing series under the banner: "Kids Tri VI," with hopes of encouraging kids to be more active during the school year.
"It’s a really cool course at Altoona," said Dean on Monday. "The kids have so much fun and they see how much really goes into being an athlete."
The race distances are short and vary depending on age. Younger kids will bike a single loop around the lagoon, then run a loop; and older kids will go a bit further, she said. And while competitive, the goal of the race is education, exercise and fun, she said.
If a child does not have a bike, that isn’t necessarily an insurmountable obstacle to participating, she said.
"We have had people donate a few bikes so they can rent a bike for the day if they don’t have one," said Dean. "And if two people racing in different age groups want to, we will let kids share bikes. But every child needs a safety helmet and sneakers."
This Saturday’s duathlon is the third children’s race on St. Croix since the series began last year. The first race was a "Splash and Dash" swim-run at Chenay Bay last September, and the second was a duathlon last October.
Kids Tri VI will hold its first actual triathlon, with swimming, running and biking legs, on March 19 in Cramer’s Park, she said.
Medals will be awarded to the top three in each age category and finishers’ ribbons will be given to
all competitors. The price of entry is $5 per child. Registration begins at 7 a.m. on race day at Altoona.
Racers can pre-register at Stamina Sports and then show up a little later – by 7:30 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. sharp.
More information, including the full Kids Tri VI race calendar, is available at the VITV website.