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The first McGaw YMCA Youth Triathlon will be held at Northwestern University‘s Norris Aquatics Center and surrounding area on July 26 beginning at 7:30 a.m.  Youth ages 7 – 14 will be able to participate individually in the swim, bike, run; or in three-person relay teams.

 The objective is to create a challenging, yet doable, event that encourages youth to discover another fun way to be active.  “Our hope is to inspire a diverse group of youth and their families by giving them the thrill of an official race experience in the friendly setting of our own community” states Craig Strong, McGaw YMCA’s Competitive Aquatics manager.  He adds that events like these build self-confidence in kids as they work on their personal best:  “We had an 8-year-old complete a swim-run event here at the Y a few weeks ago, and watching his face as he finished you could see how proud he was. … We get kids who might not feel good about putting on a swimsuit, or trying to run; then they accomplish something like this and are inspired to do even more next time.”

Coach Strong will talk to youth in five D65 schools, at the Foster Reading Center, and through church groups to recruit kids who are not already involved in sports.

This event is part of the McGaw YMCA’s Activate Evanston initiative, a community partnership to improve health and wellness. Ages 7-10 will swim 100m, bike 4K and run 1K. Ages 11-14 will swim 200m, bike 8K and run 2 K. The cost is $35 for an individual, and $75 for a relay team, prior to July 13. ($5 discount for additional family members.) Each participant receives an event t-shirt, swim cap, race number, goodie bag, and finisher medal. Top finishers in each age group receive awards. Community members are invited to help kids who cannot afford the entry fee (which goes toward the cost of putting on the event) by contributing from $5 to the full $35.