Ipswich triathlon series building a generation of 'tuffkidz'

BIG KIDS: Tom Yates of the Ipswich Hospital Foundation, Troy Dobinson of Yellow Jersey Bike Shop and Peter McMahon of the Swim Factory are gearing up for this weekends Ipswich City Rotary Tuffkidz triathlon at Ipswich State High School.
BIG KIDS: Tom Yates of the Ipswich Hospital Foundation, Troy Dobinson of Yellow Jersey Bike Shop and Peter McMahon of the Swim Factory are gearing up for this weekends Ipswich City Rotary Tuffkidz triathlon at Ipswich State High School. David Nielsen

THREE disciplines, one event and one big chance to try something new.

With plenty of young talent in Ipswich, Peter McMahon hopes Sunday's Ipswich City Rotary Tuffkidz triathlon will inspire a whole host of juniors to take up a new and exciting sport.

Celebrating 17 years of running the annual event, McMahon said the triathlon series had grown from strength to strength since linking up with hosts Ipswich State High School.

"It originally started in the mid-'80s but stopped after about eight years,” he said. "We've resurrected it in another life and have found a real home at Ipswich State High.

"We wanted the kids and parents to learn to enjoy the whole experience and with the school we can do the whole exercise in-house. It's a lot better than having to close roads down or anything like that.”

Sponsored by the Ipswich City Rotary and Ipswich Hospital Foundation, Yellow Jersey Bike Shop owner Troy Dobinson has donated two new bikes to be used in the prize raffle.

All finishers receive a special Tuffkidz medallion and also go into the draw to win a bike and other prizes.

"Rotary have been the general organisers,” McMahon said. "The Ipswich Triathlon Club have been helping out and Ipswich Hospital have been instrumental in running the event.

"Yellow Bikes have given us two bikes to give away and that will be a lucky draw. We don't really have first, seconds and thirds because everyone gets a medal as well as some small things to take away, like water bottles.

"This is aimed at primary school students so it's more about them just learning the sport.”

The young entrants can elect to swim, run and cycle themselves, or compete in a team by sharing the events. Around half of the nominations are from return competitors, but McMahon would like to see plenty of new faces enjoy the social event.

"There aren't a great deal of events like this,” he said. "We get a lot of support from the local schools and we expect around 150 kids to come along.

"We started this because we enjoy triathlons and wanted it to be simple. It's a great way for kids who want to be a triathlete for a day and experience what it's like to be in a triathlon.”

Game day

Ipswich City Rotary Tuffkidz Triathlon Series on Sunday from 7am to 9am.

Entry costs $10 per child. Team entries available. All finishers receive a medallion and go into the draw to win a bike and other random prizes.

Topics:  ipswich hospital foundation yellow jersey bike shop

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