If you can make it, you don’t want to miss what’s going on this weekend at JU as it hosts the 2013 First Coast Kids Triathlon, the largest such event in the country.
There will be plenty of smiles and emotional stories to see and share as thousands of participants converge on the campus May 4 and 5.
A group of youths were out training at Dolphin Green on The Romesburg Riverfront Tuesday, April 30, (see photo gallery below) as The Florida Times-Union talked with them for a story leading up to the triathlon.
Here’s just one example of a story of courage playing out this weekend and provided by the First Coast Kids Triathlon:
Timothy Houston has been a subject of great interest among triathlon participants since the Inaugural First Coast Kids Triathlon in 2009. One of his legs is amputated, and his commitment to become a triathlete has carried him through some huge medical challenges over the past five years. At the same time, the sport has really become a family affair, with his brother Brett also completing all of the First Coast Kids Triathlons. Timothy actually “earned” a new carbon-fiber prosthetic through his interest in triathlon, and has the First Coast Kids Triathlon logo embedded in it.
The Triathlon is close to reaching its goal of registering 2,000 youth athletes to participate in what will be the largest triathlon for children in the country for the fifth straight year. More than 350 volunteers and 6,000 spectators are expected.
“We are excited to host such an outstanding event for youths on our campus,” said JU President Tim Cost. “Together with our partners we know that keeping kids focused on health and personal pride is critical to their development. We are proud to open our campus and its expansive riverfront to the community.”
The City of Jacksonville partnered with the Jaguars Foundation, Jacksonville University, the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast, Florida Blue and Firehouse Subs for the event. With their help, the triathlon has expanded a first-of-its-kind program that introduces kids from underprivileged communities to the sport of triathlon. In 2013, 60 kids will learn to swim and be taught the fundamentals of bike safety, proper nutrition and injury prevention during a seven week program. In turn, they will participate in the triathlon on May 5. As part of the program, all of the children will be permitted to keep the equipment used in the triathlon.
About The First Coast Kids Triathlon
Organized by Kids Triathlon, Inc. (a 501c(3) entity), this event will attract 2,000 racers to Jacksonville University, and it will be largest kids triathlon in the United States for the fifth consecutive year. More than 350 volunteers and 6,000 spectators will also participate.
Schedule of Events for May 4 – 5
The race weekend is spread over two days. The festivities kick off Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. with Packet Pick-Up and the Event Expo. Saturday is highlighted by the Pep Rally (starts at 5:30 p.m.), featuring welcome messages from local officials, introductions of the 2013 Celebrity Big Kids and a motivational speech. Sunday morning is race day with transition opening at 6:15 a.m. and the races starting at 7:30 a.m. Everything concludes with the Awards Ceremony at 11 a.m. on Sunday.