Avery Lange, left, and Robby Elliott hold hands as they do the running portion of the Woody’s Kids of Steel Triathlon in Red Deer last year. Close to 400 kids will participate again this year. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Woody’s Triathlon expects another big turnout for 18th annual event

Kids will be the big focus when the 18th Annual Woody’s Triathlon rolls around this weekend.

Over the last ten weeks since mid-April, a collection of kids have been training for the race with coaches and close to 400 athletes from ages 5-15 will participate in the race on Saturday.

“For us, it’s six months of planning and a lot of sweat and tears put into the one weekend. It makes us all worthwhile when we get to see all of our athletes cross that finish line,” Race Director Shaun Richer said.

“More so when we see the future of our sport – a little five-year-old kid that’s still on training wheels and running across the finish line with a big smile, you can’t beat that.”

The two-day event will conclude Sunday, with a junior (16-19), adult sprint and relay races. Richer said close to 170 people are signed up to race Sunday.

He added that they’ve always positioned the Red Deer race to be more about inclusion and fun, rather than ultra-competitive which is part of the reason why it draws so many racers.

It’s also been a lot less hectic this week for the race crew, after the windstorm last year cast some doubt about race day. The organizers are starting to see numbers return after a brief two-year hiatus.

“Our biggest challenge is we’ve been away from our adult race for the last couple of years because our race course was affected by the traffic circle and construction,” Richer added.

“We’re trying to build that back so it’s nice to see the numbers come back again and hopefully we’ll be back to where we used to be. Triathlon is a unique sport and we realize we’re still competing against other events this weekend.”

The kids race starts Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and on Sunday the race starts at 7 a.m. For complete race details go to www.woodystriathlon.com.

Email sports tips to Byron Hackett

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