Waipa¯ kids ready for TRYathlon

Waipa Post - - Crimeline -

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

Photo / Sup­plied

Cam­bridge Pri­mary’s Weet­bix TRYathlon par­tic­i­pants with their medals in 2018.

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