The IronKids Alpharetta Triathlon is an experience your family will have forever. It takes a certain amount of grit to swim, bike and run along with peers while you are being timed and cheered on at the same time! My 9 year old competed this year and both our boys competed a few years ago. We have memories that will last a lifetime of their accomplishment.
IronKids Alpharetta has remained one of the largest youth triathlons in the country for the past four years with over 1,300 athletes competing! IronKids Alpharetta allows children ages 6 to 15 an opportunity to test their strength with a swim, bike, and run competition. All participants receive a commemorative medal upon crossing the finish line and the top three athletes within each age category will be awarded a placement trophy.
The race is divided into age-based categories:
•Junior (ages 6-8): 50 meter swim, 2 mile bike and 500 yards run
•Intermediate (ages 9 to 11): 150 meter swim, 4 mile bike and 1 mile run
•Senior (ages 12 to 15): 300 meter swim, 8 mile bike and 2 mile run
I love the fact that Alpharetta has such an amazing event for our youth. The triathlon gives the kids something to train for, look forward to and the chance to set and meet goals. Our boys swim on the neighborhood summer swim team which helps with the stamina and strength on the swim portion. Brendan rode his mountain bike and was in decent shape for the triathlon – he has football practice twice a week, rides his bike regularly and runs occasionally. He trained a little but for the most part we were happy that he was competing and didnt seem too nervous. Some athletes compete and train year round and are part of racing teams. It is neat to see them with their nice street bikes and uniforms.
This was Brendan’s second triathlon this summer and it helps to know what is expected and how to pace yourself. After going through the steps a few times I feel comfortable offering tips:
Definitely go on Saturday to set up your bike, helmet, towel, shoes and anything else you want in the transition area. The transition area is behind Wills Park Pool and you leave your items by your race number.
Pick up your registration packet behind the Alpharetta Rec Center, check out local vendors and pick up your free IronKids t-shirt. You will receive your race number and if you like can have volunteers mark their arms with their number. The child’s age is marked on their leg. Wrist bands are in the packet – one for your child and the other for you to show when picking them up at the end of the race. Stickers with your child’s race number are also in the packet – one if for the front of their helmet and the other for the bicycle. Their race number is also pinned to a shirt that they put on in the transition area (or some will clip to a belt and put around waist). Timing chips are placed on their ankles before they start the race in the pool area.
Maps of the course are posted onsite and online to familiarize your child with the race. Going on Saturday helps lessen the anxiety factor for your child and gives them a feel for how the transition area works and where they exit for the bike and run portions of the race.
Have your child practice putting shoes on quickly (we had tennis shoes but some did have running shoes that were easy to put on) and their shirt with race number on it. Brendan didnt wear socks and he was so determined to get out of the bike area quickly that he threw his shirt over his neck.
Urge them to drink water as they transition from the biking to running. He had a mile to run and the last part is uphill to finish at the rear of the Alpharetta Park and Rec building.
Officials did want everyone competing to be on site by 6:30 a.m. on race day and the transition area closed at 6:45 a.m. This is the only thing I would love to see changed. Brendan’s age group started at 8:45 and we had two hours of down time. They started lining his group up at 8:15 a.m. by number and putting their timing chips on. If we had had everything we needed in the transition area on Saturday (we didnt have his towel or shoes until the a.m.) we would have been fine arriving at 7:45 or 8 a.m. in my opinion ;).
We are so proud of Brendan for getting up early, not complaining, giving 100% and having fun! Whether he competes in another triathlon or not, he will have these fond memories for a lifetime. Thank you to the Alpharetta Convention and Visitors Bureau for supporting and sponsoring this wonderful event.
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All opinions are my own. We did receive a free entry to IronKids in exchange for my opinion. The top two pictures are from 2015 and the lower pictures are from a few years ago when both kids raced. You can get a feel for the lineup of swimmers, getting out of the pool with timing chip on ankle, biking and running out of the transition area to the final leg of race.