The morning of August 2nd was bitter and overcast, but it wasn’t enough to stop three CCF athletes from converging upon Hunting Park to compete in TriYouthalon, a triathlon event that caters to runners, swimmers and cyclists of almost all ages (7 and up).
TriYouthalon, the eponymous organization spearheading the race, dedicates itself to fighting obesity by making exercise a family affair. In each of its two main triathlon/duathlon events this year, it has partnered with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and several other sponsors to provide a venue in which kids, teenagers and adults can put their year round training to the test.
Jebren Medina, Tamia Santiago and Joshua Walter all competed in the 12-16 age bracket, which meant they had to swim 150 meters, bike six miles around a one-and-a half mile loop, and a complete a one-mile run to cap everything off.
Before embarking upon the three timed trials, the young athletes had mixed expectations. “Before the race I was like, alright, I hope I can get through this,” said Joshua. “I’ll do good on the swimming and the biking. It’s just that running that’ll get me.”
Both Joshua and Jebren experienced small setbacks throughout the competition. Jebren made the common mistake of overshooting the finish line at the end of the six-mile bike ride. Joshua repeatedly struck his foot against the bottom of the pool, suffered slight hip and oblique pain while cycling, and strained his knee during the run.
But the young athletes persevered and their endurance paid off. The day’s pinnacle moment came while Joshua was coming down the home stretch of the running segment, exhibiting obvious signs of fatigue. Tamia, who had just finished the race, sprinted back onto the track to run with Joshua, pushing him to sprint the final few meters.
“She didn’t say anything to me; I just saw her coming,” Joshua said. “That last sprint part, I did not know I was going that fast.”
Tamia’s pre-race expectations were a bit more conservative than those of her Cadence teammates. Although she is an All-Star cyclist for CCF, she had doubts about one section of the triathlon in particular. “Before the race, I really had low confidence in myself because we were starting off with swimming; I was really nervous. I even felt like I was going to throw up before I got in the pool.”
Fortunately for everyone, no cookies were tossed into the pool and Tamia and her teammates finished the TriYouthalon draped in winners’ medallions and sweat—lots of sweat.