Three’s a sport

Greenwood Gators host youth triathlon Kids Tri for Kids to encourage kids to be more active and healthy

By Rebecca Bennett

Greenwood Gators swim during a practice in preparation for the triathlon. *Photos by Rebecca Bennett

The last time the Center Grove area had a youth triathlon was more than a decade ago. Guy Ruble said that he is hoping to change that.

On Sunday, Aug. 27 starting at 7:30 a.m., Freedom Springs in Greenwood will host a kids triathlon that will be put on by the Greenwood kids swim club, The Greenwood Gators in partnership with Kids TRI for Kids and The Greenwood Parks and Recreation department. Ruble said he’d like to make this an annual event.

“Hopefully with this being our first event, it will go smoothly and raise a lot of interest,” Ruble said.

The event, which is for kids from ages 7 to 14, will consist of a 100-yard swim, half-mile run and a half-mile bike ride for the 11 to 14 age range and the same events with shorter distances for the younger racers.

The swim will be done in the lazy river in Greenwood’s Freedom Springs and the run and bike ride will take place in the paths around the grounds.

A coach for the Gators, Ruble has completed a few triathlons in his life and is heading up the local push for the event. He has been swimming his whole life and said he hopes the event will encourage all kids to get active.

“That’s the big selling point, I think, is getting kids active.” Ruble said, “I think that’s why the parks department for Greenwood was so supportive of this and Kids Tri for Kids’ goal is to promote health and also to introduce kids to the triathlons as a sport.”

Ruble said Kids Tri for Kids has done four triathlons so far this year in the Central Indiana area, and have had about a hundred participants in each event. The goal for the Greenwood event is 100 participants as well.

Ruble said several of the Gators are participating. Naomi Weaver who has been swimming with the Gators for approximately four years is participating in the triathlon and it’s her first triathlon.

“I’m pretty excited,” Weaver said. “My mom is gonna help me with some running.”

Joe Sheets has also been a Gator for about three years and is participating in the event. He enjoys swimming and is training for the event by working on what he thinks is his weakest sport of the three.

“I have been biking more, because that’s kind of the one part that I don’t really do much,” Sheets said.

Those who complete the triathlon will get medals and a t-shirt and a free pass to Freedom Springs for the day of the event.

The families of the participants are invited to participate in a family fun run, after the last participant has finished the triathlon.

Community involvement and getting kids active isn’t Ruble’s only goal for the event. The Gators are using the event as a fundraiser to get money to put towards a new timing board. With the new timing board, installation will be an additional cost.

“We are hoping to raise about $3,000,” Ruble said.

Packet pick up for the race is Aug. 26, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Runners Forum at 1001 N. State Rd. 135. Race packets include the aforementioned T-shirt, each participants race number, a swim cap and sponsor information.

There is a mandatory race meeting for all participants and their  parents at 9 a.m., with the race following immediately after the meeting.

The Gators are still looking for local sponsors and volunteers for the event. Those interested in volunteering or companies looking to be a sponsor for the event can contact Ruble at coachguy@greenwoodgators.net  or at (317) 443-4182. For more information, visit kidstriforkids.com.