Triathlon to cap entries

By Geoff Lee

February 2, 2017 12:00 AM

IRON KIDS Organizers of the 2017 ATB Financial Lloydminster Triathlon are expecting to cap numbers close to the 575 kids who took part in tlast year's swim, bike and run at Bud Miller All Seasons Park. The 2017 event is set for June 23, with registration on March 6. FILE LLS PHOTO

Organizers of this year’s ATB Financial Lloydminster Triathlon for kids six to 15 years of age recommend early registration with a cap on numbers anticipated.
The fourth annual event will be held at Bud Miller All Seasons Park on June 23 with little wiggle room left to safely handle more than the record turnout of 575 competitors in last year’s swim, bike, run competition.
“So we will be putting a cap on, so I would suggest that if anyone is interested in registering they should register early,” said Anthony Bender, race director and vice-principal at Saint Joseph’s Elementary School.
Bender said a specific cap number would depend on how many three person teams versus individuals sign up, noting they can handle more individuals than teams.
“We have to make sure there is a balance between the amount of registrants we accept and their safety—it’s just getting bigger and bigger,” said Bender.
“We want to encourage kids to be active, but we also need to make sure they are safe.”
The cap is one of several changes in store for the triathlon, including a decision to move up the registration date by one month, to March 6.
In addition, registration letters will be send out at the same time by the public and Catholic public school divisions.
The start time of the triathlon will also be moved up an hour to accommodate another large field of competitors expected to register.
“If you get it in late and we are at the cap, we will just be turning those last ones away,” said Bender.
Organizers are looking for volunteers with more than 80 needed to pull it off.
The triathlon is also a partnership with the City of Lloydminster that provides the venue.
“They do a lot of background stuff, they encourage activity which is kind of awesome,” said Bender.
Shauna Makepeace, assistant branch manager at ATB Financial, handed out finisher medals at last year’s event and is amazed how it’s grown.
“When I think of our numbers from the previous year, it’s just something that’s continuing to grow,” said Makepeace.
“It’s exciting to be a part of that; it’s a great afternoon; it’s very fulfilling and it’s great to see so many kids come together.”
She also said it’s an opportunity for everyone to get involved with team registration fees just $20 and $15 for individuals.
The low cost is a far cry from the $70 plus fees when the inaugural event was a sanctioned Kids of Steel Triathlon by Alberta Triathlon Association.
“We did that they first year and felt it was way too much money for kids to spend for an activity,” said Bender who is also surprised by it’s popularity.
“I think the name triathlon attracts a lot of kids because they’ve never been in one before,” he said.
“Once they participate in one, they are kind of renewed a little bit.”
He said the swimming usually scares people, but said if they are on a team and have a swimmer, it’s something they can grow in confidence with over time.
The team aspect of a Kids of Steel triathlon is what attracted ATB Financial to become the headline corporate sponsor.
“We just loved the idea of promoting fitness and the team atmosphere because with that, kids can come together as a group, or if they are individual competitors, they can go individually as well,” said Makepeace.
“We try to support the youth in our community.”
The Lloydminster bank branch also has a junior ATB program at St. Thomas Elementary School.
Makepeace calls the triathlon “something wonderful” Lloydminster can offer to the community.
“Even children who wouldn’t normally be able to afford to be involved in something like that, because it’s done through the school system, the fee is so minimal that anyone can take part in it,” she said.

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