When you think “triathlon,” most think of grueling runs and sweating up hills. But one set thinks of bike washes and a high-flying water slides
On Aug. 25, that’s exactly what the course included for some of metro’s youngest triathletes during Lenexa’s third annual Tiny Tots Triathlon.
Held at Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park, more than 160 3- to 6-year-olds pedaled, ran, slid, and cleaned up in a kiddie bike wash, as they made their way through the event’s various stages. The oh-so-friendly competition concluded with a final run to the finish line, where members of the Lenexa Fire Department were waiting to give each child a medal — and a high-five.
Though the event was great fun for all of the young participants, one enthusiastic athlete, Kamden Kinney, 5, had actually been training for the big day for quite some time.
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“He’s been riding his bike around the neighborhood for weeks,” said his mother, Shelbi Kinney. “He stops and tells the neighbors, ‘I’m training for a triathlon.’ They’re like, ‘Really?’”
Kamden’s father serves in the military and is currently deployed in Afghanistan. “He’s been talking to his dad about it every night. Tonight, I’ll send him some of the videos from today and Kamden will have FaceTime with him. It’ll be really fun.” Kinney said.
The number of this year’s Tiny Tot Triathlon participants was more than double that of 2016, according to Sarah Sooter, Lenexa recreation supervisor.
“We started the event to touch this demographic because there wasn’t something like this for them and it’s gotten so popular,” she said. “We simplified it for their age group and it’s not timed. The kids love it.”
There was one unexpected hitch early Saturday morning, as the triathlon coordinators faced a last-minute challenge.
“We realized we didn’t have any water for the bike wash and water slide,” said Ashlee Bullard, Assistant Recreation Center Manager.
“The park is under construction and the water is turned off. The bike wash is everyone’s favorite part of the event and some kids come through four or five times. Fortunately, the fire department helped us out and we got water.”
Bullard loves seeing the kids’ smiling faces and their excitement. “They smile from ear to ear,” she says.