Sea­soned com­peti­tors share Ironkidz tips

Waikato News - - News - Lau­rilee McMichael

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.”

PIC­TURE: LAU­RILEE McMICHAEL

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.

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