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Only Oswego

Oswegoland Park District Kids Triathlon Has Come a Long Way

Sep 28, 2015 03:16PM ● By Steven Jack

Ten years ago I sat in meeting. While this type of work time has a reputation of being unproductive, at this meeting sat several Oswego School District 308 Physical Education teachers. They get stuff done. 

What came out of that conference was a commitment from the Oswegoland Park District and the Oswego District 308 staff to host the Have Fun? You Won! Kids Triathlon. Together we have hosted this event nine times and seen over 2000 third through sixth grade students cross the finish line.

This past Sunday, 300 kids swam 100 meters, biked 3 miles, and then ran ½ mile in the event. For some, it was the only time they have participated in a multi-sport event like this. For others, this is a part of growing up in Oswegoland. They were participating as part of a hometown tradition.

The day of the Kids Triathlon is always one of my favorites. It’s easy to see why. This event is a glimpse of our community. Teachers show up on a Sunday to time the kids and cheer them on. It isn’t just their Physical Education teachers.  

The school building engineer groups them together at the swim, their fifth grade teacher times them in the swim and another fifth grade teacher greets them as they finish the bike course. Teachers they will have in junior high and high school are there as well. Parents who have never participated in an athletic contest like this cheer and embolden the efforts of every athlete.

With all this around them, even tired, students feel like athletes and walk taller on Sunday afternoon. Do you want to know what this does for them in the long term? On Sunday, I watched the fastest kid on the track stop his sprint instead of passing the slowest kid. He made sure his fellow athlete was okay and had one of the event grown ups with him before going on.

When we have such strong character, the kids in our lives expect the same from themselves.

The Oswegoland Park District thanks those teachers who made the 2015 Have Fun? You Won! Kids’ Triathlon possible. Our thanks, also to each athlete’s pit crew – their families who came to cheer every child. 

Finally, thank you to a super field of enthusiastic athletes. They were eager, excited, and amped to cheer on their friends and classmates.  Sunday was a great day to be a part of, and we can’t wait until our 10th Anniversary next year!

Kristie Vest, special events supervisor, Oswegoland Park District