A girl accepts a medal for finishing a foot race.

Big turnout for Iron Knights Triathlon

In the photo, a girl participating in the 3-4 grade bracket recieves her medal as she crosses the finish line of the IronKnights Triathalon held at North Penn High School on Saturday June 9,2012. Photo by Mark C Psoras

The foundation provided funding for the Iron Knights triathalon.

By Kev Hunter

TOWAMENCIN — Tremendous volunteer turnout, great support by the parents, and 545 smiling children combined to make the first ever North Penn Iron Knights Triathlon a success Saturday afternoon at North Penn High School.

“Every kid had a great time, which is what it’s all about,” said Scott Crayder, physical education teacher at North Wales Elementary and one of the key organizers of the event. “Just to see the look on their face when you put a medal around their neck is unbelievable.”

Kids in kindergarten through grade six competed in the three-part event on Saturday, and they were blessed with warm, sunny weather the entire afternoon.

It all got started in the Rick Carroll Natatorium Pool, where each competitor had to swim a specific distance, based on their age group — for kindergarten through grade two, 20 yards; grades three and four, 60 yards; and grades five and six, 100 yards.

Then, the kids got on their bikes and made their way around the campus: the youngest group logged 1.25 miles, followed by 3.75 miles for the middle group and an impressive 5.75 miles for the kids in grades five and six.

With their last kick of energy and plenty of cheering from the spectators, the youngsters completed their day with a run around the school, culminating on the Crawford Stadium track. Grades K through two ran 700 meters, the third- and fourth graders ran a mile and the older kids went 1.25 miles.

Some sprinted to the finish line, some even held their arms up in jubilation as they completed their journey.

“The kids were great,” Crayder said. “They worked hard. A lot of them trained really hard for this, and their hard work showed.”

Funding for the event was made possible by a health grant, which helped out with the cost of getting lifeguards and also getting the kids pool time in preparation for the swim portion of the triathlon. The entry fees helped cover the other expenses, which included shirts for the competitors, medals, trophies, the timing company, water and supplies.

The idea for a local youth triathlon came about when Jason Theodore, physical education teacher at Montgomery Elementary, asked his students: ‘Of all the things you did over the summer, what was the thing you were most proud of?’

When one child’s answer was that he competed in a kids triathlon, the talk began to have one locally at the end of the school year.

“We all jumped on it,” Crayder said. “We loved the idea.”

As one kid after another crossed the finish line, cheered on by classmates while getting his or her name announced over the loud speaker, there was a certain buzz, a certain level of excitement that could be felt by all in attendance. It was a successful inaugural run for the North Penn Iron Knights Triathlon, and they already plan to make it an annual event.

“This is just about us showing our kids another outlet as far as something you can get into and do,” said Crayder, as he handed out cups of water to some happy finishers. “You can do it by yourself, you can do it with a group, and you can do it for the rest of your life. And that’s what our job is, to help these kids stay healthy for a lifetime.”

From Hunter, Kev. (2012, June 9). Big turnout for Iron Knights Triathlon. The Reporter. Retrieved from:  http://www.thereporteronline.com/article/20120609/SPORTS01/120609623/big-turnout-for-iron-knights-triathlon&pager=full_story