Bexley News

Youth dash to the finish of city's inaugural triathlon

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The first installment of a triathlon for youth surpassed organizers' hopes for participation, attracting 157 athletes and a host of volunteers.

The Splish, Splash and Dash Bexley Youth Triathlon for youth ages 6-14 took place Aug. 17 at Jeffrey Park. The event required participants to complete a swimming, biking and running course.

Turnout for the triathlon, which was funded by a $4,000 grant from the Bexley Community Foundation's Youth and Recreation Fund, exceeded expectations, said city of Bexley Recreation Director Michael Price.

"Our goal for the first year was 75 kids, and we more than doubled that," he said. "We ended up with 157 kids, so we were very excited about that."

The pleasant weather likely was a factor in the event's success, as was the participation of dozens of volunteers.

"The support from volunteers was amazing," Price said. "We had over 60 volunteers involved in the event. Obviously, a number of parents and family and relatives came out to support."

Chris Fortney cheered on her daughter, Ava, with a sign that read "Go, Ava!" in bold letters. Ava ended up taking first place in her age category, girls ages 9-10.

Participating in Splish, Splash and Dash was a fun way for Ava to get in a little extra practice at the sports she enjoys, Mrs. Fortney said.

"She swims competitively all year and she likes to run. She was in the running club at Montrose last year," she said. "It was a good thing for her to combine all of the events that she loves to do."

Ava said she wanted to participate in the triathlon because "I've never done one before and I thought it would be really fun to do one."

Jim Lyski said he and his wife, Mary, registered their son, Max, for the triathlon to promote health and fitness.

"We thought, 'Here's a nice little starter sprint for the kids,' " Mr. Lyski said. "Max certainly did great today."

Max, a seventh-grader at the Wellington School, took first place in his age group, boys ages 11-12. The event was more competitive than he anticipated, Max said.

"I had to go through the bike (portion of the triathlon) pretty quick and sprint my hardest on the run," he said.

Bexley Councilwoman Anne Lewis was among city officials whose children participated in the event. Her daughter, Gigi, a third-grader at Cassingham Elementary School, said the triathlon offered an opportunity for her and her friends to compete in fun activities.

"I love all of it," Gigi said. "I love swimming, because I used to be on a swim team. I love biking and running."

The Splish, Splash and Dash promoted community spirit, Mrs. Lewis said.

"It's another example of why Bexley's so great, because we've got all these community events that are so fun," she said. "The turnout was incredible."

Winners in the other age categories include:

Boys 6 and under, Henry Lessard; girls 6 and under, Hazel Meeker; boys 7-8, George Brigdon; girls 7-8, Elizabeth Burgess; boys 9-10, Duncan Johnson; girls 11-12, Isla Evans; girls 13-14, Tori Bonner.