The 2009 IronKids National Triathlon Series will culminate Oct. 3 - 4, 2009, in Tucson, Arizona, with an event weekend for the entire family. On Oct. 3, youth ranging from 6 to 15 years of age can participate in IronKids Tucson, the final qualifier for the National Championship that will take place the following day, on Oct. 4. The top five finishers in each age division from all eight IronKids events will qualify for the National Championship. The triathlon will begin at 8 a.m. on both days and will take place at James D. Kriegh Park. Participants will swim in an outdoor pool, bike on closed roads and run along a scenic paved trail. All finishers will receive a commemorative medal and trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in each age group. Local partners include the Town of Oro Valley and the Metropolitan Tucson Conventions &Visitors Bureau.
Director of IronKids, Michelle Payette, comments, "IronKids is excited about hosting an event in Tucson, as it is not only a great family destination, but also a location that is well known among the triathlon community," said Payette. "Tucson is an excellent place for triathlons, training camps and clinics, as it has a motivated group of people who support such events. However, what really captured the heart of IronKids was the surrounding beauty."
Registration and packet pick-up for IronKids Tucson, along with IronKids Expo, will take place at host hotel, the Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort, on Friday, Oct. 2, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. IronKids Expo, as well as registration and packet pick-up for IronKids National Championship qualifiers, will continue on Saturday, Oct. 3, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Hilton Tucson El Conquistador Golf & Tennis Resort will also host IronFlix, a children's film festival, with viewings on Friday, Oct. 2 (evening outdoor screening), and throughout the day on Saturday, Oct. 3. Presented by KIDS FIRST!, viewers will experience a mix of inspirational animated shorts and feature films.
Distances for the IronKids Triathlon will vary, depending on the age of participants:
- Junior (ages 6 to 8): 50-yard swim, 2-mile bike and 500-yard run
- Intermediate (ages 9 to 11): 150-yard swim, 4-mile bike and 1-mile run
- Senior (ages 12 to 15): 300-yard swim, 8-mile bike and 2-mile run
Several inspirational athletes including Cody McCasland and Brendan Driscoll are racing on behalf of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). Cody, 7, of Colleyville, Texas, was born without tibias and competes with the help of prosthetic legs. Brendan, 11, of Essex, Mass., was born with a congenital lower left leg anomaly and had his leg amputated at the knee before he started kindergarten. Both athletes fundraise for CAF and other charitable organizations.
World Triathlon Corporation acquired IronKids from the Sara Lee Corporation that owned the event series since 1985. IronKids' events have seen more than 40,000 participants in its history. IronKids has introduced some of the sport's greats with past participants including seven-time Tour de France champion, Lance Armstrong and U.S. Olympians, Hunter Kemper and Laura Bennett. The 2009 IronKids National Triathlon Series held events in San Diego, Calif., St. Petersburg, Fla., Raleigh, N.C., Carmel, Ind., Oklahoma City, Okla., Alpharetta, Ga., and Avon, Colo. National partners such as K-Swiss, Aqua Sphere, CLIF Bar, SAM (Store & Move) and Timex will support this year's series.