A 7:30 a.m. start is pretty early for a regular kid. It’s really early if you’re swimming, biking or running.These aren’t normal kids.
A 7:30 a.m. start is pretty early for a regular kid. It’s really early if you’re swimming, biking or running.These aren’t normal kids. These are junior triathletes, who competed in the TriKC Longview Junior Triathlon on Sunday at the Longview Community Center in Lee’s Summit. Kids ranging in ages from 6 to 18 showed up Sunday morning for the swimming, biking, and running event. Athletes were split up according to age group, and then those age groups were put into three different courses, varying in length. Kids 10 years old and younger, including boys and girls 8 and under and 9-10 age groups, swam 100 yards, biked for three miles, and ran for one. Ages 11-14, which included boys and girls 11-12 and 13-14 age groups, swam for 200 yards, biked for six miles, and ran for two. The Elite groups had their work cut out for them. The eight Elite athletes, a mix of boys and girls aging from 15-18, swam for 300 yards in the Longview Community Center pool, biked up and down Longview Road for nine miles, and ran for three miles before finishing in front of the Community Center. Treyton Lloyd, 8, took first in the boys 8-and-under group after a disqualification, and Lauren May took first in the girls division. Rylie Michael took the girls 9-10 bracket, and Nicholas May won the boys 9-10 crown. Nicholas was the first athlete to cross the finish line. “I did pretty good,” he said of his performance. “I didn’t know I was in first when I was out there, but I just gave it all I got.” Hannah Heidenbrecht, 12, took first in the girls 11-12, and Lucas May was awarded first after a disqualification. Emily May took first in the 13-14 girls and Adam May took the boys category. You may have noticed all the May’s that finished first. Yes, they are related and yes, their parents are triathletes. “They love it,” said Doug May, father of the five competitors. “I messed around with triathlons for a while, and they all got started in track. It just continued from there and expanded to triahlons.” Doug and Amy brought five of their seven children from Wichita, Kan., to compete in the second and final leg of the TriKC series, the previous of which the JCC Youth Triathlon in Overland Park, Kan., which the Mays attended as well. “We came up for the JCC run, so we wanted to get into this one, as well,” Doug said. Emily quipped, “It was an excuse to come to Worlds of Fun.” The May athletes, who run track and cross country, as well as triathlons, all took first in their respective age groups. The family also took home three course champion titles, with Nicholas taking the short course boys title, Emily taking the long course girls and Adam, the long course boys. “Adam’s actually undefeated this year, and that’s three years running,” Doug said. The May family should eventually enter their kids in the Elite division, but for this year, it was Katie Kelter, 16, and Michael Mahler, 16, taking the Elite course championships in the girls and boys divisions. Team awards were also given, according to total age, either the 25-34 division or the 35-and- over group. Kids from teams like Northwest Arkansas Acquatics Sharks, as well as local clubs, like Tsunami, turned out for the event. But three athletes, not exactly swimming for an organized team, turned out and competed in the team category. Alec Barber, Ryan Drake and Paul Province -- all students in the Blue Springs R-IV School District -- came out as a group of friends and hope to return to compete together next year as well. “We thought it’d just be something to do,” Drake explained. “With baseball and all the other sports, we’re not in the same age groups. So this was just something we could do together.” Most of the coordinators and managers were volunteers. Don Herron, the co-race coordinator and emcee for the event, was happy to see all the kids and parents out for the morning. “It’s great to see everything setting up and bringing the kids into youth fitness, especially in this day and age when people say, ‘The kids are out of shape.’ Those guys need to come out and see these kids,” Herron said. Herron is a TriKC member, as were all of the volunteers, who also compete in triathlons. “We’re hoping to develop these kids into Olympic athletes, since the triathlon was added to the Olympics in 2000,” Herron said. “It’s what were hoping for, to make them better for overall competition than individual biking, running, or swimming.” Some of the kids are getting a head start on that very early on. “Watching the 6- and 7-year-olds is just something else,” Herron said after the race. “A lot of the parents here are just like, ‘My kid can’t do that.’ And then they come out and do it, and maybe the parents start exercising.”