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With record entries at sell out venues, the Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon is going from strength to strength.
Now in its 24th year, entries for this summer’s 16 events throughout the country are 15 percent up on last summer and the Christchurch and Wellington events on 13 and 20 March respectively are already sold out.
With support from Toyota since 2009, events are being held between Dunedin and the Bay of Islands to encourage budding triathletes between the ages of seven and 15 years.
Five years ago, the series attracted 16,000 participants. By the time the last event is held in the Bay of Islands on April 10, over 26,000 children and teenagers are expected to have participated in a TRYathlon this summer.
Alistair Davis, the CEO of Toyota New Zealand, says the TRYathlon provides Kiwi kids with an opportunity to get out there and have a go.
“As New Zealanders are increasingly living sedentary lives and spending more time in front of screens, the TRYathlon is a great way for schools and families to support their kids being active.”
Events already held at Manukau and St Heliers sold out for a second year and the Hamilton event was a sell out for the first time.
There were also record entries at Rotorua, Mt Maunganui, Gisborne and Hastings.
Two new events have been added this year to cater to the up surge in demand. An event at the Hutt Valley Recreation Ground to complement the Wellington event already has over 800 entries of the maximum of 1500 allowable, even though it does not take place until March 22.
The sole Wellington event used to be held at the venue, but was shifted to Kilbirnie two years ago to allow a larger field accommodating up to 2200 people.
The other new event is based within the Treaty Grounds at Waitangi, giving Far North children a chance to try the sport.
The North Shore event has outgrown its Narrow Neck venue and will now be held at Manly Park, Whangaparoa, giving the Auckland region a third race to cater for the number of fledgling triathletes in the area.
All participants receive a T-shirt and medal, often from celebrity sports stars from either swimming, cycling, athletics or triathlon itself.
Image: Supplied by Ben Campbell