Pandemic transforms Bexley's youth triathlon into all-ages event

CHRIS BOURNEA
editorial@thisweeknews.com
New Albany resident Parker Smith, then 14, competes in Bexley's Splish, Splash & Dash Youth Triathlon in August 2017. This year's event will take a different form because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to Bexley Recreation and Parks Department officials. Rather than taking place on one day in one mass gathering, the 2020 event encourages participants to bicycle, swim or run on their own from Saturday, Aug. 22, to Sept. 22.

The annual Splish, Splash & Dash Youth Triathlon will take a different form this year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, according to Bexley Recreation and Parks Department officials.

Rather than taking place on one day in one mass gathering, the 2020 event encourages participants to bicycle, swim or run on their own from Saturday, Aug. 22, to Sept. 22.

The event is being billed as the Splish, Splash & Dash Youth Triathlon – Coast to Coast, with a goal of participants logging 6,000 miles collectively, according to the organizers.

“It’s about 3,000 miles from coast to coast,” said Natalie Mullin, deputy director of the recreation and parks department,” So we want to do coast to coast and back, which is a goal of 6,000 miles as a community. They have that whole month to log their miles.”

Whereas the traditional triathlon was open only to youths when it began in 2013, the Coast to Coast version is open to all ages.

“When people ... register, they’re going to have the opportunity to register as an individual or as a family, or you can register as a team,” said Kevin Smith, a recreation supervisor with the department. “Maybe there’s a group down the street you want to compete against and you can make it an internal competition type of thing. All of the miles that my team logs, we can watch how it compares with the people one street over, how their team does.”

Coast to Coast is one of the activities the recreation and parks department is offering as part of its 2020 fall activities season. Other activities have been modified because of the coronavirus, with such exercise programs as chair yoga being offered virtually or in outdoor spaces at Jeffrey Mansion, 165 N. Parkview Ave., that accommodate social distancing, Mullin said.

“Anything has to be either online or outdoors,” she said. “We’ve completely moved away from indoor spaces.”

Sports leagues, such as flag football, have been postponed, replaced by online instruction in those activities, Mullin said.

“We’ve made changes, and I think they’re for the positive,” she said. “We trying to encourage people to stay active.”

For more information and registration, go to bexley.org/ssd. For registration for other activities, go to bexley.org/recreation-parks.

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