Monday, February 13, 2012

Weetbix TRYathlon

This weekend Ben once again completed the Weetbix Tryathlon.
Once again it was an awesome fun event that everyone enjoyed and got behind.

1500 bikes in transition area
If you have never had the pleasure then now is the time to take note and look out for next years events for your kids.
The kids have to be 7 yrs old to participate and they can do it every year until they are 15.

And like the name suggests it is a Tryathlon, yes there are 3 events to complete, swimming, biking and running (or walking if that is what you do) but the main focus is on TRY athlon as in "give it a go, try it out."
And yesterday that is just what 1500 kids did at Waikato University and they were awesome, every single last one of them ( and I know a little something about the last one too)

The first event, the swimming, is done in age groups, so you enter the pool when your group is called. Due to the distances that are swum (7yrs - 50m, 8-11yrs - 100m and the rest 200m) this will decide on when your age group swims. Yesterday Ben's age group (8yr yellow caps) were the very last group to swim, in fact by the time they had even entered the water most of the older bigger kids had finished their whole tryathlon! But at the end of the day it is not a competition it is a 'fun give it a go day'.

Waiting with mates from school
However, for some reason Ben hit the water and stopped. He got given a float board to use but he didn't seem to go very fast with it, consequently the 2 or 3 little groups of boys left to swim all passed him and he was one of the very last people to leave the pool area and transition onto the bikes.

Waiting to get in the water
 When he was at his bike he seemed to take forever. He had a little trouble with his helmet and we assisted over the fence. However whilst he was getting ready to go on his bike an official came up and asked him if he was alright for his run? Ben told him he was just going out on his bike and you saw the official whisper something into his little mic, obviously letting someone know they still had one left to go out on the bike!
My heart sank!! In fact my heart is sinking writing this (but only a mother will understand where I am coming from)
I soon realised that Ben was the very very last person on the biking field. The very last contestant of all 1500 kids! (Ben however knew absolutely nothing of this and just kept going with a huge smile on his face)
I also knew that from last year he didn't like the running part and walked, so my heart and brain very quickly put 2 & 2 together and yes I got that horrible answer of "oh my gosh he is going to be the very last kid to cross the finish line!

Sole rider getting sorted for the ride
I raced round to where he came out of the bike area and told him where to go, however I could see the 'tailend charlie official' ahead of Ben, so I ran like mad next to Ben telling him he had to catch up with the 2 men in the yellow jackets ahead of him. About 100m later a marshall saw Ben and stopped the officals and they waited for him. So there I stood on the large University field watch my lone 8yr old cycle round the path with not another person insight!

I am not sure whether I wanted to cry or scream, a few profanities came out of my mouth but then I realised we had to make the best of the whole situation. So I raced back to the school tent and found all his mates and their siblings and quickly explained that Ben was the very very last person. It sank in with them very quickly and then we sprung into action.
We all waited at the bike arrival area and cheered like mad for him when he came in on his own, we cheered for him while he parked his bike and set out on his run, the kids ran with him for about 200m and then they raced to the finish area. I ran with him about half of the run, but the thing that amazed me was him, he just jogged along and over took 6 people, I then realised that he wasn't going to come in dead last, he was going to be one of the last ones home but not THE last.
Half way round the course all his mates were on the side again with Steve and Alex and another parent and they all cheered him on again. We cut through the trees to where he was going to come out after going round the lake and we cheered him on again.
The last bend and some of the straight and everyone was running with him, then they all stopped and cheered as he ran the last bit himself straight across the finish.

Because it was the end of the day, and 1493 other kids had already come home, the finish straight was empty, there was hardly anyone standing along it cheering the kids. Of course not, because everyone else had their kids home so they had already moved over to the prize giving area which was happening about 10 mins after the last kid got home!
So after cheering like mad for Ben I stayed on the finish line and cheered like mad for the last few kids to come in. Really supported them, made them feel like someone was still there for them.

Ben is still totally oblivious to where he was in the race, doesn't understand what I saw but then why should he, he did the swim, he did the bike and he did the run. He knows his age group were the last to do everything and next year his age group will be before this group. And the year after his age group will be earlier again.
Although I know that in 2 years time we will go through it all again with someone at the end as Alex will be 8 by then and he will be in that dreaded group that has to go at the very end of the day.

1 comment:

Alison said...

Well done to Ben..and to you and his classmates too for being there to encourage him!
Alison xx