A GROUP of Monifieth triathletes recently showed that endurance sport can be child’s play at an international event!
While their parents and other members of the Monifieth Tri Club (M3) took part in the Karnten Ironman Austria race at the beginning of July at Lake Worthersee, Klagenfurt, junior club members Matthew Smith (13) and brothers Magnus (10) and Ben Fettes (12) competed in the Iron Kids competition.
Club founder, president and father of Matthew, John Smith explained how the children had come to be involved in the event.
He said: “There’s a bit of a ramp up for the Ironman main event on the Sunday, so they have the Iron Kids on the Saturday.
“It’s a 100m open water swim on Lake Worthersee and then they halfed the 900m run because the temperature was around 40 degrees.”
The amatuer athletes, seven in total, from the Monifieth Triathlete Club travelled to Lake Worthersee for the Ironman Austria event.
John continued: “It’s a great atmosphere. Iron Kids was pretty much a by-product of the adult event. Paul Fettes and I had already signed up for Ironman Austria and in the e-mail correspondence in the run-up to the event they were promoting the sideshow events.
“Paul and I asked our children if they fancied doing that. They’re already members of M3’s junior section which is around 15 strong.
“Given that they were coming out to Austria anyway to support their dads, they jumped at the chance.
“It was their first experience of an open water swim. The water is a beautiful clear green and is about 26 degrees.
“They loved every minute of it and they each said that one day they wanted to do the full event, I think it really made an impact on them.”
Not only was it the first taste of an Ironman for the children, but also for the adult contingent of athletes.
John said: “That was the first Ironman for myself and Paul. When we were deciding to do an Ironman a lot of people recommended the Austrian one to us.
“There were in excess of 200,000 spectators at Lake Worthersee, a beautiful location.”
There were 2,656 adult competitors, split into various age and gender divisions, who tackled the 3.8km open water swim, 180km bike ride and 42.1km run in scorching heat.
The results of the four M3 members who took part were as follows: 388, Mark McIntosh, 10.56:271; 478, Paul Fettes, 11.07:33; 1,157, John Smith, 12.34:57 and 1,547, Kirsten Carroll, 13.38:09.
John feels that sometimes people can be put off by endurance sports as being out of reach of their level of fitness or ability.
He said: “People think that triathlons are quite elite and you have to be a super athlete. In all honesty you don’t.
“There are all levels of ability. It’s accessible to all, from novices upwards. At the club we pride ourselves on creating a really friendly atmosphere.
“We have almost reached 100 members in the three years we’ve been going. That’s quite phenomenal.”
The club is always keen to recruit new members, and would love to hear from anyone interested in getting into triathlons. For more information visit their website at www.m3tri.com.