Three years ago, a pair of local triathletes started a community group based on a very simple idea, which often proves difficult to do – getting families active together.
© Submitted photo
Boasting one of the highest obesity rates in the province, the country and the continent, their aim was to curb the problem by cutting the excuses, said co-founder Jody Mattie.
"When you ask people why, a lot of them say there's nothing to do. So our goal was to give families something to do together to be physically active."
With an equal emphasis on fitness and family, Mattie and his partner Troy Bond began organizing events for the community.
The first event they organized was a "splash and dash" - a short swim followed by a short run for young children. The success was immense, and led to more fun runs and bike rides throughout the summer.
Last year, the group bumped their schedule up to 15 events, including their first triathlon. The focus is to get adults involved as well as children, and allowing parents to help kids as young as three compete.
It creates a unique atmosphere, said Go Truro volunteer and competitor Sarah Stewart.
“It’s a really fun, upbeat atmosphere,” she said. “It’s good competition, and it’s very professionally run and organized, but they keep it light and fun for everyone.”
Stewart and her three kids have all participated in Go Truro events, and her daughter will be taking part in the triathlon this weekend. Stewart will be watching with particular interest, as she plans to attempt her first triathlon soon.
Doug Wile, member of the Bible Hill parks and recreation committee, will be volunteering for the second year in a row.
“It’s great to see how much fun the kids have,” he said. “Some of them are so tired they’re in tears by the time they finish, but once they get their medals it’s all smiles.”
It’s also great competition between the kids, Wile said. He recalled seeing a young girl stumble and fall near the finish line last year, and begin to cry. As volunteers went to help the girl, a boy passed by her and sprinted for the line.
“She jumped up and was off like a shot,” he laughed. “There was no way she was losing to a boy.”
Much like the goal behind the whole organization, the purpose of the triathlon was also simple.
"Kids are natural triathletes, when you think about it," Mattie said. "They can swim, they can bike and they can run. Our idea was to celebrate kids and their abilities."
The group was nearly overwhelmed by the success of the first triathlon, with more than 100 kids flocking to Victoria Park with their parents. Mattie and co. actually had to turn some hopefuls away on race day.
"A lot of our stuff has to be pre-ordered, so we realized after last year that we needed to put a hard cap on it of 150 kids this year," Mattie said, adding they have around 100 registered now with spots still available.
Race day registration will get underway at 7:45 a.m., with the first heats kicking off at 8:15 a.m. and running through to 11:15 a.m.