KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Three words sum up the Ironkids triathlon series — “loads of fun”.
Ironkids is a series of triathlons for children aged between 3-15, owned and licensed by the World Triathlon Corporation. Since its inception in 1985, over 40,000 kids including disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong have been part of — that alumni.
Ironkids participate in age-appropriate distances with an emphasis on safety, fitness and fun. This year organisers included the 14-17 age groups apart from the usual 4-to-8 and 9-to-13 age groups. More than 200 kids participated and it was quite a scene.
Kids gathered as early as 7.30am and after a fun warm-up session the 4 to 8-year-old’s gathered for their 500m run with parents.
It was a comical start as the kids were too excited and once they were flagged off, ran the wrong course and had to reset the race. Was anyone complaining... No. They were lapping it up.
Everyone was smiling and chuckling away, it was a truly wonderful bonding experience over a healthy activity.
Lack of a swimming facility meant the race was down to just “runs”. The 9-13’s did a 1km dash and the 14-17’s did 1.5km.
Spotted at the event was Sepang International Circuit (SIC) chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali whose admits his passion for organising Ironman races.
“I’m addicted,” said Razlan.
“I’ve done four Ironman’s so far. Three in Langkawi and one in Germany this year. Tomorrow (today) will be my fourth Ironman Langkawi. It’s a great thing and I’ve tried to advocate it to the higher-ups to keep on holding the race here.
“As for the kids, they’ve done two Ironkids abroad and two in Malaysia.
“I love it because it’s an activity where parents and kids can participate. It’s a rare thing. I’m always up for spending time with my family so this race is right up our alley,” said Razlan of his two sons Razali, 12, and Farouk Razlan, 10, participation in Ironkids.
Kids were given an ice-cream, power bar, drinks, certificate of participation and a medal for their “troubles”.
Some were seen crying due to exhaustion while others were ecstatic to see so many people watching them race and clambered to take pictures on the winners’ podium.
For a country like Malaysia where the masses are prone to go out and have ’teh tarik’ instead of working out, this activity is something we should encourage as getting kids into healthy living will only benefit the nation.
That’s why the Ironkids tagline is: “Every Finisher is A Winner”.