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Kids compete in Hagerstown Youth Triathlon

July 28, 2007|By JOSHUA BOWMAN

HALFWAY - Grace Fulton and Kathryn Dillard crossed the finish line on Saturday at the Hagerstown Youth Triathlon the same way they do most other things - together.

The 10-year olds from Hagerstown are best friends, and were the first two girls to finish the event, which was at Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park.

"We like to do everything together," Grace said between sips from a sports bottle.

The youth triathlon was open to children ages 8 to 13, and included a 100-meter swim, 2-mile bicycle ride and 3.1-mile run. It drew 72 youths, all of whom were registered well in advance of race day.

"The interest was so great, we sold out a good five weeks before the event," race director Ken Racine said. "We knew the market was probably going to be good, and we're thrilled to death that we're sold out."

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The event was held in conjunction with today's Hagerstown Sprint Triathlon for adults, both of which are hosted by the Hub City Triathlon Club. Racine said the events reached their entry limits - 72 youths and 140 adults - well in advance of race day.

"Our whole motto is fitness for life. We want to teach young kids how to be active and how to compete," said Racine, a 40-year-old Williamsport resident and longtime triathlete.

Austin Loar, 11, of Halfway was the first boy to finish. He said he was excited when he heard about the triathlon.

"I've run and I play sports, but I've never done anything like this," Austin said. "It was a lot of fun."

Kathy Greenberg, 9, of Smithsburg agreed with Austin.

"I loved it," Kathy said. "It was kind of hard to run after the swim and the bike, but it was awesome."

Kathy said her father, who is participating today in the adult triathlon, convinced her to sign up. She said the two sometimes go jogging together.

"He's a lot faster than me, though," Kathy said.

Racine said the average finishing time for the youths was expected to be between 20 and 30 minutes. He said while the event can be competitive, it mostly is about promoting fitness for children.

"This is something that can be a great avenue for kids to learn about fitness," said Racine, who noted that the event is the only youth triathlon in Washington County.

"It's the only event of its kind, and it was such a success, we'll definitely be doing this next year," Racine said.

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