Four Decorah kids are training to compete in the HyVee Ironkids US Championship Triathlon September 17th in West Des Moines.
10-year-old Sam Robinson, 9-year-old Cael Luzum, 8-year-old Charlie Robinson and 7-year-old Jacob Pipho have all qualified for the event by placing in the top five of their age categories at the HyVee Triathlon in Rochester on July 23rd.
"All four boys are on the Decorah Swim Team, so they had no problems with the swim section of the race. In fact, this was their easiest part of the race," says Amy Robinson, mother of Sam and Charlie Robinson.
The Ironkids Triathlon has three age categories. Kids 6-8 years old swim 50 yards, bike 2 miles and run 500 yards; kids 9-11 years old swim 150 yards, bike 4 miles and run 1 mile; and kids 12-15 years old swim 300 yards, bike 8 miles and run 2 miles.
"These are age-appropriate distances that make it fun for the kids because they don't get too tired" says Robinson.
The Decorah kids have been practicing the transitions between the events. After the swim part of the race, the athlete has to get into his/her shoes, shirt, and helmet as fast as possible. The athletes must also run alongside their bikes until they reach the trail and are instructed to get on the bike. After the bike portion of the race, the athletes must park their bikes, remove their helmets and start running.
The Ironkids Triathlon has a mission to inspire and motivate youth through the sport to lead an active, positive, healthy lifestyle. "Sports teaches kids that they can improve themselves and work hard and persevere. There are studies that show that student athletes do better academically than students who are not involved in sports," says Robinson, a physical therapist in Waukon. "It's not about winning, but it's about having a lot of fun with exercise and giving kids a sense of pride about what they've accomplished."