Seasoned competitors share Ironkidz tips
When it comes to Taupo¯’s annual Wairakei Estate Ironkidz event, you could say Alex Aitken and Bayley Roberton-Rakei have been around the block— or the course— a few times.
The 10-year-old Waipahihi School Year 6 students are seasoned competitors, with both estimating this is the fourth or fifth time they’ve entered Ironkidz.
They’re back on Sunday for this year’s Ironkidz, a fun noncompetitive triathlon held on the Taupo¯ lakefront, for the enjoyment and the fitness.
“It’s fun and I like being competitive,” says Alex.
As Ironkidz veterans they know what to do and what to expect. Both say their favourite leg is the biking— the speed on the downhill is what appeals to Alex, and Bayley just likes being on the bike. The trickiest thing is trying to get a drink while on the run. There are drink stations provided, but Alex says it’s difficult to run fast and drink water from a cup at the same time.
Bayley says a common mistake he sees is children cycling off on the bike course in an easy gear and forgetting to change into a harder gear once they build up speed, meaning their feet are spinning around and around but they’re not getting very far.
Although both boys will be leaving Waipahihi School at the end of the year, they say they still intend to be Ironkidz when they’ve moved on to intermediate.
Alex’s older brother Max is a Year 8 student and still enters the event every year.
Alex and Bayley’s fellow Waipahihi School students Max Drysdale, 6, and Summer Olsen, 6, are also returning Ironkidz, but this pair will be entering the Splash and Dash, which is run for children aged five to seven years old. Instead of a swim/bike/run format, the Splash and Dashers have a short paddle in the lake and a run along the lakefront to the cheers of their parents and supporters. Both Summer and Max have older siblings who have entered the triathlon event and the Splash and Dash gives them a chance to get involved too.
“I wanted to do it again [this year] because it’s fun,” says Summer.
Max thinks other kids his age should sign up too because then he’ll be able to beat them— although he’s quick to add that victory is not his goal.
“You should do it because it’s not all about winning, it’s about fun.”
IRON KIDS: Waipahihi School students (from left) Bayley RobertonRakei, 10, Alex Aitken, 10, Summer Olsen, 6, and Max Drysdale, 6, are looking forward to competing in Sunday’s Wairakei Estate Ironkidz event.