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Tri If You Dare’Kids Triathlon set for June 29
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Photo courtesy of JIM SHEETS
Participants in a previous Tri If You Dare Kids Triathlon race to the finish line.
SEMINOLE – Running. Biking. Swimming. Sounds like most kids’ summer agenda. But the city of Seminole’s 10th annual Tri If You Dare Kids Triathlon, set for Sunday, June 29, takes these fun activities to the next level and puts their skills to the test.

“What’s great is these are all the things kids already do,” said Jim Sheets, race director. “It’s kids just being kids. What kid doesn’t bike run or swim? This event really encourages success in the sport.”

Sheets founded “Tri If You Dare,” one of about 30 of its kind in the state, 10 years ago when he was still the city’s recreation director.

“I started it back in 2005 just because it’s what I did, it’s my hobby,” he said. He’s participated in triathlons since the late 1980s.

Not knowing what to expect, he planned his first event for 150 kids. But he found that the athletic competition appealed to children because they already loved to bike, swim and run, and the event easily hit the 150 mark. Every year since, he’s planned to accommodate 300 children and has sold out each time.

Sheets left his post with the Recreation division in August 2012, when Becky Gunter took over. But he wanted to ensure “Tri If You Dare” continued and remains the event’s race director.

“It’s been 10 years running,” he said. “It’s got some history to it and it’s very popular.”

For Gunter, there was no question that she’d continue the triathlon when she became recreation director.

“It’s a well-rounded community event,” she said. “It draws out parents, children, businesses and even City Council members. It’s a fun environment.” Plus, she said, it fits with the Recreation Division’s motto. “Get up, get in and get active.”

Sheets also coaches the city’s Seminole Landsharks, which competes throughout the region and boasts two national champions. Will Stone, 10, was the 2013 USA Triathlon Florida State Champion and 2013 USA Triathlon National Champion. Katherine McClellan, 9, was the 2012 USA Triathlon National Champion.

“Tri If You Dare” is open to all experience levels from experienced to beginners, from ages 5 to 15.

“You even see kids out there with their training wheels,” Gunter said.

Sheets hopes the event encourages healthy habits at an early age.

“Fitness is a lifestyle,” he said.

The triathlon takes place at Holland G. Mangum Recreation Complex, 9100 113th St. N., Sunday, June 29, 7:15 a.m.

Entry fee is $40 before June 22 and $50 after that date.

Children 5 to 6 will run 1/4 mile, bike one mile and swim 25 yards. Children 7 to 10 will run 1/2 mile, bike two miles and swim 100 yards. Children 11 to 15 will run one mile, bike four miles and swim 150 yards.

Sponsors include Clever Training Fitness & Technology, Publix and Bicycle Outfitters, which provides a free bike as a door prize.

A Fitness Expo will be held the day before, Saturday, June 28, with Top Gun Triathlon Store, Swim Zone, Tri Kids Supply, Clever Training and Bicycle Outfitters.

Contact Sheets at 687-6948 for more information or visit
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