The most physically fit kids in the area will get to show off a little for fun, prizes and a good cause this weekend as Centennial Park hosts the fifth annual Kids BigRED3 triathlon.
The event raises money for programs of the Plymouth Park Department and has fast become one of the most popular family events of the summer.
“I would love to have 350 kids sign up and take part if we could,” said Gina Young, recreation director for the Plymouth Park Department. “We almost always have at least 100 and they come with their parents and their grandparents. It’s a busy time and it’s a great, fun time in the park.”
The race begins at the Plymouth pool where the young athletes swim their laps, then race out the gate to jump on their waiting bicycles. After a quick cycle around the park course, they leave their bikes and start running to finish the course back in front of the pool.
Volunteers are there from the Plymouth High School football and baseball teams to make sure everybody knows the route and is safe. Winners will be honored, awards presented to everyone and prizes drawn for.
Participants can still sign up at the Centennial Park Office. They can also sign up at the pool the night before the race in front of the pool as volunteers set up for the next day’s event from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on race day from 8:30 a.m. to 9:45 p.m.
“We’ll be there on Friday night to get kids race numbers put on them so anybody who wants to sign up then can,” said Young. “The morning of the race if they are there by 8:30 a.m. we’ll still have time to check out their bike and helmet and get them going.”
The registration cost is $15 but that fee is waived to any athlete who is able to get $50 in pledges to the park. Some local businesses have also made it possible for others to ride.
“It’s not about the money to me, I really want everybody to be able to be a part of this that wants to,” said Young. “The Kiwanis and Michiana Contracting have both given us the money to sponsor 10 kids, so the first 20 kids that come and want to race but maybe can’t afford it, will be able to do that thanks to them. It’s just such an awesome event and it’s great of them to help kids be involved.”
All money raised from the event supports park facilities and programs and the event has raised around $45,000 over the years that have been used for climbing walls, playground improvements and other programs. This year Young is looking for input on how the money should be used.
“I’m thinking that perhaps this year we ought to use the money to buy new slides and make some locker room improvements at the pool,” said Young. “However I want to know what everybody thinks, if there may be another project to put the money towards.”
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