Bicycle a key component to successful racing

Eleanor Bailey/The Almanac

Greg Ellis from Pro Bikes + Run checks the brakes on the bike that will be used during the cycling portion of the Kids Triathlon.

For 19 years, youth athletes, as well as their family and friends, have flocked to the South Park Wave Pool to compete in the Habitat For Humanity’s Kids Triathlon. July 20 will be no different. This Saturday, enthusiasts of this competitive fundraiser will again gather for this thrilling early morning adventure.

“It’s exciting,” said Kristi Webb, who directs the event, “because the whole family gets involved. You have the young athletes competing and the siblings, family and friends cheering for them. It’s really fun for everyone.”

All participants benefit, too. Not only do all contestants receive medals for completing the race that incorporates swimming, cycling and running, but they also receive a sense of pride in knowing they did something to support others. Proceeds from the event benefit Habitat For Humanity. To date, the Kids Triathlon series has raised nearly one million dollars to provide decent, affordable homeownership and home repairs to local, limited-income families.

“What makes the race special is that it is an opportunity for kids to get active and compete, but is also an opportunity for them to take part in helping their community,” Webb said. “There are two important components to our race, and I believe that’s why people continue to come back.”

People attend and compete in the Triathlon Series also because it is a “safe” event. In addition to having the South Park Wave Pool lifeguards assisting the swim portion of the race, every year, Pro Bike + Run attends the pre-race meeting and is also available race day to inspect bikes.

“We take pride in having a safe event,” Webb said. “That is really important.”

Vital is the role of volunteers. Hundreds of them encourage the young competitors from start to finish. In fact, Webb says, registration is run entirely by volunteers from Citizens Bank.

“Our race continues to thrive because we have a dedicated team of volunteers,” Webb said. “They truly enjoy helping and cheering on these athletes. All participants should be celebrated, and our volunteers make sure of that.”

Volunteers interested in helping on race day can contact Stephen Hart, race coordinator at sehart@pittsburghhabitat.org or 412-450-8520, ext 18.

The South Park Triathlon begins at 8 a.m. Race-day registration, bike checks and set-up start at 6:30 a.m.

Ages 7-9 swim 50 meters, bike one mile and run half a mile. Ages 10-12 swim 100 meters, bike two miles and run one mile.

Entry fee is $45 on race day.

Visit bit.ly/2019KidsTriSp to register.

The Triathlon Series also includes an event at North Park and allows for a 13-15 age group as well as younger divisions. Those in this older group will complete a 400-meter swim, 7-mile bike and 2-mile run. The biking distances for the other age groups is slightly longer but only by a half-mile.

To register, visit bit.ly/2019KidsTriNP.

For more details, call 412-450-8520 or email sehart@pittsburghhabitat.org.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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