June 08, 2014 - 3:30 PM
KELOWNA - Kelowna's 2014 Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon will again have some of Canada's youngest and most enthusiastic triathletes participating in the Kids of Steel (KOS) event during the weekend of August 15-17. KOS triathlons are designed to offer youth 15 years and younger the opportunity to experience the sport of triathlon in a positive environment. The distances are much shorter than those in adult triathlons, and increase as participants mature.
In preparation of the KOS events, the Apple Triathlon offers the Sunrype Youth (ages 8-11) and Teen (ages 12-15) Camps the week before race weekend at Strathcona Park in Kelowna. Certified coaches cover the basic skills of swimming, biking, running, and transition; teaching triathlon rules, and enabling each camper to complete the Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon on Saturday, following the camp. Participation of the camps is limited to 30 Youth and 15 Teen triathletes. Triathlon BC is offering a drafting clinic for the Teen Camp on Monday, August 11. This clinic will qualify eligible triathletes for the Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon U16 event on Saturday, August 16.
According to Sue Morrison, Apple Triathlon camp director and certified coach, both camps are quickly filling up. "The kids and teens thoroughly enjoy these camps and go into their races with a lot more confidence. Having practiced with a group of friends and comfortable with the rules, they know what to expect. They also learn to work together as a team, even if they participate as individuals."
Kelowna has two youth triathlon clubs, the H2O Junior Tri Club and the Ogopogo Triathlon Club. The Ogopogo Triathlon Club utilizes 11 coaches, specializing in various disciplines and ages, and continues to grow with currently more than 60 kids involved. Leading the coaching team is Gord McInnes, supported by Rene Unser, Kari Bailey, Brent Hobbs, Jason Brescacin, Chris Andruchow, Martin Courtenay, Quinn Middleton, Cordell Dickie, Trevor Haaheim and Taylor Lick. Many of the coaches are parents of tri-kids. McInnes states, " Our first priority as coaches is safety in the water, on the bike and while running on the road or trail. I have worked as a physician at Kelowna General Hospital's emergency department for the last 13 years and have seen many tragedies that in some cases could have been avoided if attention was paid to basic safety."
Commenting on the intensity of participation, Bailey says, "At younger ages, triathlon should be one of many sports that youth participate in. Specializing and focusing only on triathlon as a performance goal should not occur until after an athlete has gone through puberty." A very talented little athlete, Kari's daughter Andrea Kraetzer did her first triathlon at age four where she ran all the way with her soft toy! She is looking forward to participate in the Apple Triathlon again this year, competing in the age group 10/11. "I enjoy the competition and the Apple looks like a lot of fun," says Andrea.
The Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon is a qualifying race for the 2015 ITU Age Group World Championships in Chicago, offering three qualifying Olympic and Sprint distance spots per age group and gender. It also hosts the following events: Elite Sprint – 2014 Kelowna PATCO Sprint Triathlon Premium Pan American Cup, Junior Elite Sprint – National Grand Final & BC Provincial Championships, U16 – National Grand Final, Paratriathlete Sprint (Open and Elite), Adult Age Group Sprint, Paratriathlete Olympic, Adult Age Group Olympic - BC Provincial Championships, Kids of Steel (KOS) Youth & Teen Camps & Races, Business Challenge Sprint Relay, Aquathon, Try-a-Tri, Fun Run and Kelowna Apple Open Water Swim Invitational organized by Okanagan Masters Swim Club.
The Pushor Mitchell Apple Triathlon has approximately 1,000 volunteer positions that must be filled to safely run the event. "Participants always mention Kelowna's volunteer spirit as one of the highlights of their event. We would like to thank the community for always stepping up to help out on this wonderful weekend! Online volunteer registration will be open by mid June on the Apple Triathlon website so please keep a day or two of the weekend free," says media spokesperson Jeanette Hoft. The Volunteer team can also be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org. More information for participants and volunteers is available at www.appletriathlon.com.
Coaches and kids from Ogopogo Triathlon Club getting ready for participation in a race.
Image Credit: Contributed
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014