Don’t worry about the head math; just get to the starting line. While the Kids of Steel Triathlon should have been celebrating its 29th anniversary two years ago, the pandemic kept everyone’s runners stationary on the shoeshelves, metaphorically speaking.
"That's hard on everybody, but that's just the way it was going to be,” said race director Wietske Eikelenboom. “Last year, we were starting to get ready and the pool actually didn't open till the day after we were supposed to have the race. Nobody had been swimming; nobody was able to use the pool. That’s the way it is sometimes.”
Regardless, the event that started in 1992 is back in action this year, albeit with a few modifications. The Fountain Park Recreation Centre, the triathlon’s usual centre of the universe, is in the middle of its own shutdown.
With a change of location being necessary, people can now turn their gazes to the Grosvenor Outdoor Pool. It's a smaller venue with a matching parking lot for a more modest transition area. That means the number of participants will be capped off. Come 8 a.m. on Sunday, June 12, there will only be 200 kids as old as 19 and as young as four getting ready to swim, run, and bike the course.
Those latter two sections of the race will see some new sights. The run will take place on the Red Willow trails through Grandin, for starters.
“That'll be quite picturesque for everybody. It will be an out-and-back course for the run on the trails.”
Motorists can watch out for bicyclists on Grenfell, Gresham, Grosvenor and Grandville. There will be road restrictions, but confirmation of road closures wasn’t yet available as negotiations were still ongoing by press time.
Because of the new route, there won’t be a draft legal race, meaning that cyclists ride close to each other to gain aerodynamic advantages. It would be too dangerous on those windy Grandin neighbourhood streets.
There will be finisher medals for all competitors plus awards for the top three in each age group by gender.
Eikelenboom said that regardless of all the changes, she can’t wait for that magical moment when the youngest age group marches out to kick off the first race. That is exactly why the former racer is keen to have the triathlon returning to the city.
“It's definitely exciting to be back on track again here, for sure,” she punned.
Registrations will still be accepted until Sunday, June 5. Organizers also said that there was still a “great need” for volunteers. Anyone 18 and older can sign up by visiting volunteersignup.org/JWHH7.