24th August. Harrogate Council Kids Triathlon Day
As part of the activity summer school, Harrogate council organised a week's worth of multisport taster days. Giving children the chance to experience an array of sports from cyclocross to orienteering and triathlon. Eleanor Haresign, fellow triathlete and Leeds Bradford Triathlon club member and myself had volunteered to deliver the kid’s triathlon day.
Getting set up for the day, at the Harrogate Hydro pool.Thanks for the goodies OTE
The aim was to spend the day with a merry band of 7 to 12 year old kids, getting them excited and knowledgeable on how swim, bike and run fit within the context of triathlon.
First off was the swim. We had a lane booked at Harrogate Hydro for the morning. The kids ploughed into a series of triathlon specific swim drills. Practising deep water starts to replicate the start of a triathlon race. Swimming in groups, turning around buoys and practising sighting to replicate looking where you are going in open water. As a secondary school teacher by trade, when I was in the classroom, I spent more time out of it, spending more time delivering after school sports clubs than planning my geography lessons, from netball to rounder’s I loved helping kids with sport, So it was great to be back workign with kids. I was quickly reminded that a plan generally needs adapting when set in motion. This was clearly evident when we realised a length of the pool was a big undertaking for a 7 year old, Especially when kids go full pelt at everything you ask of them. I didn't want any one drowning on me, so we shortened the swimming to make sure everyone made if from the first discipline onto the second at least!
After a snack we all headed up to Killinghall Moor Country Park for a cycle skills session on the grass. The kids practised their bike handling, riding a series of circuits that we had marked out. We challenged with one handed riding and a slalom skills loop.
Lunch was had in the sunshine as we chatted about sport, triathlon, nutrition and the upcoming Kids triathlon at Newby hall on the weekend where some of the Kids were competing.
After lunch it was onto transition skills and practising mounting and dismounting the bike. After a few wobbles and falls, good job we were on grass! Everyone was progressing leaps and bounds and flying dismounts and mounts were happening left right and centre. We then put these skills into practice with a duathlon relay to finish the day. With the kids in two teams, each kid jumped on their bike, cycled the grass circuit as fast as possible, dismounted and ran at full steam before tagging their team mate. We finished off the day with a good stretch and some mobility work on the grass. The kids were fantastic and it was great to see so much effort and improvement through out the day.
For the hard efforts and top levels of enthusiasm the kids all received an OTE sports bag and water bottle, Thanks OTE. Also a big Thank you to Endless LLP in Leeds who provided financial support for the day.
Hopefully we can build on this day and offer another Kids triathlon day next year and with some help, offer the opportunity to all children, regardless of whether their parents can afford it or not. As a Teach First Ambassador I passionately believe, your demographic should not determine your destiny. Triathlon is, I feel a sport not as accessible as it could be to everyone, regardless of their socio-economic situation. If you want to help, in helping all children access Triathlon, then get in touch.