Three Taylor Road Elementary School third-graders and a fifth-grader from Waggoner Road Middle School will be "kickin' it" at a triathlon, biking, swimming and running at Alum Creek State Park.
Third-graders Sienna Barnish, Anna Haines and Baylie Phillips, along with fifth-grader Drake Barnish, will compete at 8:30 a.m. June 1 at the Ohio State University Ross Kickstand Youth Triathlon and Duathlon at Alum Creek Park, 3615 S. Old State Road in Lewis Center.
The event will include closed courses for children age 2 to 12 to promote awareness of how to prevent heart disease through proper nutrition and a heart-healthy lifestyle, according to event organizers from the OSU Ross Heart Hospital.
The Taylor Road students will swim six laps, bike two miles, then run three-fourths of a mile.
School Principal Darrell Propst said he was surprised to hear he had students in the school training for a triathlon.
"It sounds like an extreme form of physical endurance, but these are great kids and I'm really proud of them," he said. "They are great academically and are model students. I think it is really impressive that they are adding the triathlon training for a well-rounded education."
Cutting out sweets and soda and drinking more water and milk are parts of the students' training regimen, besides participating in sports such as soccer and doing more running, biking and swimming.
Baylie said she has been running with her mom, biking with her friends and swimming whenever she can get to a pool.
"I was watching the news one day and saw a kid with special needs whose older brother was helping him do a triathlon," she said. "I decided I would like to do a triathlon, too."
She thinks that the biking part of the triathlon will be the most fun.
Anna said she biked all last weekend around her neighborhood.
"I wanted to do the triathlon for the challenge of it and the fun," she said. "I've been swimming at the Y and on vacation, there was a pool. I think the biking will be fun."
She said if anyone told her they thought a triathlon was too hard, she would tell them, "You should do it because it's fun and because you want to see if you can do it."
Sienna said she also thinks the biking will be the best part.
"I want to challenge myself and do some different stuff than I usually do," she said. "I like doing something that is hard for me."
Drake is Sienna's brother. He has run a 13-mile half-marathon in the past.
"I wanted to do the triathlon to test if I could bike, jog and swim well," he said. "I've been riding my bike and jogging around the neighborhood with my sister."
He remembers being tired after the half-marathon, but said he is eager to do a full marathon someday.
Drake said students at the middle school have been wishing him luck and also asking, "How are you going to do that?"
"I'm training and trying to do my best and test myself," he said.
The event offers age-based distances, beginning with ages 6-8, with a 75-yard swim, one-mile bike ride and half-mile run.
Ages 9-10 swim for 150 yards, bike two miles, then run a three-quarter-mile course.
Ages 11-12 swim for 250 yards, bike three miles and run one mile.