Waipa¯ kids ready for TRYathlon
Waipa’s primary schoolchildren are preparing to make a splash at the 2019 Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon, with one school expecting half their eligible students.
Last year, Cambridge Primary School was represented by over 100 students, a number they hope to match or exceed at the next event at University Fields in Hamilton East on Sunday, February 17.
Nearby school Leamington Primary will be attending the event for only the second time, and sports co-ordinator Jacqui McCann says numbers — and interest — are growing at both schools.
“I love getting children to the Weet-Bix TRYathlon because it caters for those who think they don’t do sports. It’s not a traditional school sport like rugby or hockey, so it’s perfect for children who are unable to commit to a long season, or regular practice. It shows that sport caters for everyone.”
McCann, who is sports coordinator at both Cambridge and Leamington primary schools, says she wants children to be the best they can be, and have a great time.
“The TRYathlon having a go.”
The Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon is a crucial tool in making sport accessible to everyone.
“You don’t have to join up to a team to live a healthy lifestyle — events like this make sport accessible to everyone. I love it when a student who isn’t into ‘normal’ school sports puts their hand up for the TRYathlon, is about because they know it’s about the participation, not the competition, or the win,” she says.
“A lot of children don’t join sports teams because they are afraid of failure, but it’s impossible to fail at TRYathlon. If you have to walk instead of run — you’re still doing it. If you’re afraid of water, but you get in the pool anyway — you’re doing it.”
McCann says many children come back and do the Weet-Bix TRYathlon more than once because of the sense of camaraderie it creates among students.
“All it takes to make a team is to put a gazebo up — that’s our stake in the ground,” she says. “It’s a kind of instinctive teamwork — they all meet under the gazebo, and they know they are part of something with the school, and we’re proud of what they do.” And it’s not just that which enhances a sense of belonging, with children supporting their schoolmates along the route, especially if they see someone struggling.
“I’ve seen children run alongside someone in their school who’s finding it tough, just to give them encouragement, even if they don’t really know the person well,”says McCann.
“The kids build each other up — at times like this, they don’t really need the adults at all. They take care of each other themselves.”
McCann also appreciates the support from local community groups and business who are encouraging children to be more active and live a healthy lifestyle as well as providing assistance to children so they can participate in events like the TRYathlon.
“We have an awesome Sport Waikato Project Energise team who help children learn about healthier living, and they also run a TRY kids training prior to the event, so they can practice.”
Children are also helped by The Waterboy, a nationwide initiative which helps them get involved in sports by connecting businesses for sponsorship.
The Weet-Bix TRYathlon Foundation also provides support for children who need assistance through subsidised entry or equipment like bikes and helmets.
Sanitarium spokesperson Nigel Chenery says the company is keen to encourage schools like Cambridge Primary and Leamington Primary help students have a go at the TRYathlon.
“It’s wonderful to see these schools organising their students to take part in the event, and taking pride in participating as a school.
“It brings a real community feel to the events and the children are always so supportive of each other.”
“The TRYathlon is about encouraging Kiwi children to get active and healthy while training for a specific goal.
“We know receiving a medal at the end of the event gives all the participants a feeling of pride and accomplishment, and it’s great that these children can have their shared experience with their friends and classmates.”
The TRYathlon series is open to children aged between seven and 15, and consists of a swim, followed by a cycle and a run.
Participants wanting to register for the Hamilton event on Sunday, February 17, 2019 can visit try.weetbix.co.nz
Cambridge Primary’s Weetbix TRYathlon participants with their medals in 2018.