Recreation

Kids swim, bike, run to success in youth triathlon

Bellingham Youth Triathlon draws around 80 kids ages 5–13
August 7, 2022 at 3:59 p.m.
Sophia Gage sprints to the finish line, finishing first in the ages 9-10 race at the Bellingham Youth Triathlon on Aug. 7. To end the race, participants ran laps around the field outside Arne Aquatic Center, ranging from a quarter mile for the youngest group to a mile for the oldest group.
Sophia Gage sprints to the finish line, finishing first in the ages 9-10 race at the Bellingham Youth Triathlon on Aug. 7. To end the race, participants ran laps around the field outside Arne Aquatic Center, ranging from a quarter mile for the youngest group to a mile for the oldest group. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)

By CASSIDY HETTESHEIMER
Staff Reporter

Kids had the chance to show off their swimming, biking and running skills in the Bellingham Youth Triathlon Sunday morning at the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center. Racers lined up their colorful bikes outside the aquatic center’s doors as they prepared for the race, which has taken place annually since 1999.

The event had three races, separated by age group: 5–8, 9–10 and 11–13. Each race’s distance was scaled for the age group and took place in or around the aquatic center and the Civic Athletic Complex. Just over 80 kids competed across the three races. 

“[A youth triathlon] gives kids a really unique entry point into tri races,” said Patrick Ulinski, athletics coordinator for the City of Bellingham. “I would have loved to have had the experience when I was a kid ... It’s a really fun, safe on-ramp for kids to try something like that.” 

Race coordinator Lance Romo emphasized that the race was a chance for kids to play, enjoy themselves and celebrate finishing the event, rather than focus sharply on winning. After the race, each participant received a medal, and Romo handed out extra prizes like smoothie coupons, gift cards and T-shirts. 

photo  Swimmers completed one, two or four laps, depending on age, in whichever swim stroke they preferred. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News) 


photo  An onlooker films the start of the swim leg for the ages 5–8 race. Kids swam 50 yards for the ages 5–8 race, 100 yards for the ages 9–10 race and 200 yards for the ages 11–13 race. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  

 

photo  Santiago Vivas, left, gets ready for the 2-mile bike leg of Division 2. Kids stored their bikes in the transition area outside the pool, where they put on shoes and helmets after they swam. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  


photo  Race participants pedal up the back stretch of the 1-mile bike loop. The loop, which kids completed once, twice, or three times depending on age, circled back behind Civic Stadium and up around to Arne Hanna Aquatic Center. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  


photo  Race participants pedal up the back stretch of the 1-mile bike loop. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  


photo  Quincy Chesbrough cheers on the kids participating in the Division 2 race for ages 9–10. Some spectators brought signs and cowbells to cheer on the racers. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  

 

photo  Spectators clap and cheer for the bikers as they finish the second leg of the Bellingham Youth Triathlon. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  


photo  Spectators cheer with homemade signs as Olivia Bolen runs through the finish line. Each of the three races began on the hour from 9–11 a.m. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  

 

photo  Finishers celebrate at the end of the Bellingham Youth Triathlon. The City of Bellingham Parks and Recreation department hosted the event for competitors ages 5–13. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News) 



photo  Participants and spectators check out the race results posted outside the Arne Hanna Aquatic Center. Every participant received a medal for completing the race. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  


photo  Leighton Peacock plays with a bubble machine at the finish line. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  

photo  Kids raise their hands as race director Lance Romo gives out extra prizes like gift cards and beach balls at the end of the triathlon. Prizes went to the person who traveled the farthest for the race, the person with the closest birthday and other miscellaneous categories. (Cassidy Hettesheimer/Cascadia Daily News)  

 

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