Peer support at heart of triathlon

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Kellan Williams

Kellan Williams

ADAM JACKSON/Ponoka News

Roads were blocked off last week with something that is completely new to Ponoka — a youth triathlon.

On June 19, more than 110 children aged six to 18 swam, biked, and ran their way to the finish line during the first annual Ponoka Youth Triathlon.

Competitors kicked the race off at 11 a.m. with the swimming portion at the Ponoka Aquaplex. Athletes swam 50 to 200 metres, depending on their age, then leaped onto the bikes, where they raced between one and six kilometres on a track that lead east on Highway 53, then onto the Battle River trails and finally returning to the aquaplex to start the running portion.

Competitors then ran between 500 metres and four kilometres on the running portion through the same area.

Although the weather didn’t cooperate for spectators, the athletes involved embraced the cool and rainy conditions.

“The cool weather was actually nice, it kept us nice and cool,” said 18-year-old Kellan Williams. “It wasn’t even bad on the bikes either.”

Williams, who was participating in the event under the direction of PCHS physical education teacher Scott MacGregor, was surprised at how much he enjoyed the event.

“He wanted us to get involved and be active, so he had us come out here,” said Williams. “It was a lot of fun.”

Fun was at the heart of the event, with competitors — some athletes, some not — competing and cheering one another on.

One particular incident during the race left race organizer RCMP Staff Sgt. Cameron Chisholm in awe.

A young girl with a disability was competing in the triathlon and struggling in each event. She finished last, but it was what happened between the start and the finish that pleased Chisholm.

“She was struggling, but was able to stick it out and complete the whole course,” said Chisholm. “To see some of the other youths also getting involved and running with her and cheering her on was amazing.”

“She sprinted when people started to cheer her on,” said Chisholm.

“It’s nice to see the human side of people in events like that and see people encourage others.”

Full results were not available at press time.