On July 12, approximately 200 youth ranging in age from 5 to 14 took part in the 7th Annual McGaw YMCA Youth Triathlon that took place at Evanston Township High School between 8 and 10 a.m. There were light sprinkles before the start of the race, but the rain stopped before the first event. Almost 100 people volunteered to help with the triathlon, guiding the participants through transitions and along the triathlon routes.

“McGaw YMCA believes that all youth deserve the opportunity to discover who they are and what they can achieve, and our Youth Triathlon is one way to do that,” said Lori Siegel, Associate Operating Officer, Senior Director-Swim, Sports & Play at McGaw Y. “This was the seventh year of the Youth Triathlon, and it is always so gratifying to see the pride on the faces of our participants and their families as they cross the finish line.”

Five- to six-year olds completed a 50 yard swim and a 0.4 mile run; seven-to ten-year olds completed a 100 yard swim, a 2.5 mile bike course, and a 0.7 mile run; eleven- to fourteen-year olds completed a 200 yard swim, a 4 mile bike course, and a 1.5 mile run. Except for the youngest group, participants wore a timing chip on their leg.

The swim took place at ETHS’s swimming pool, portions of Dodge Avenue and Lake Street were closed for the bike course, longer distance runners ran on the sidewalk around the north, west, and south perimeters of ETHS and all participants finished the course on ETHS’s outdoor track.

As runners crossed the finish line, volunteers shouted, “Strong finish;” and Bill Geiger, former chief executive officer of McGaw Y, said over a loudspeaker, “You are a triathlete.” All participants who completed the course were given a medal.

“We had seasoned triathletes and children who had never completed a race before, but the result is the same: children enjoying healthy activities, learning sportsmanship, and gaining confidence,” said Ms. Siegel. “More than 197 participants finished, and participants came from as far as Texas and Ohio. McGaw YMCA couldn’t continue to host such a significant race without the support of our Leading the Way Sponsor, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, and strong support from Northwestern University Athletics, and USA Triathlon. We are also grateful to ETHS for use of their facility and for the support of the City of Evanston through street closures and Evanston Police officers for ensuring our cyclist are safe on the road. We’re looking forward to next year.”

The first place winners for their age and gender group are

Age 7 -8, Male: Rayburn Kohl

Age 7-8, Female: Mary Rohde

Age 9-10, Male: Alex Norman

Age 9-10, Female, Honor Roberts

Age 11-12, Male: Andrew Flynn

Age 11-12, Female: Ellen Rohde

Age 13-14, Male: Jack Yonover

Age 13-14, Female: Alexis Fernando

7-10 Relay, Morrigan Bushroe-Stumpf

11-14 Relay, Nicholas Bradley

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...