Brainerd Kiwanis Kids Triathlon (Macy’s Thoughts)

Each year when the triathlon season starts, I always look forward to racing the Kiwanis Kid’s Triathlon in Baxter, MN. One of my favorite moments is watching the little ones come up from the swim with big smiles because they’re having so much fun. A few of the reasons why this race is special are how well it’s organized, the passion the volunteers hold and the enthusiastic nature of the fellow racers.

This event is filled with helpful volunteers that make the young athletes feel at ease. I don’t know about you, but transition is a huge concern for me at any race. But at Kiwanis Kid’s Triathlon, that concern vanishes. They are there to help set up a racer’s transition space, ensure helmets are on securely, and assist parking bikes if needed. There are also volunteers keeping the area safe by ensuring no one blocks the entrance or comes in too fast. And the entire time they all are offering encouraging words to each and every racer.

Then there’s the fact that the course is so unbelievably well marked, there is no stress in ‘memorizing’ the route and there are volunteers to direct race participants at all turns. The swim is short and sweet, only in waist deep water. It’s probably one of the cleanest lakes I have raced in. The bike course is nice and flat with fun turns directed by (yep, you guessed it) the volunteers. To most the last segment is a punishment, but running is my favorite part of a race. Unlike the bike when I am trying to make sure to get a new average mph or trying out new tires, I can let go in the run. Like the bike course, the run stretch is flat. Along the run, families are seated here and there, cheering on the kids as they go by. While all endurance sports have a welcoming community, triathlon communities are hands down the best. Here you are, not completing in one, not two, but three different sports in the same event and no matter how well you perform, those who don’t even know you are supportive and encouraging.

I’ve had unforgettable experiences throughout my 4 years at Kiwanis Kid’s Triathlon. Every year I have made a new friend and improved my timing from the year before. I cannot voice my thankfulness to those who created this unforgettable race and have helped me pave my way into the triathlon community by making it such a fun, easy first step into endurance sports. My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner so that I could have received at least a 5-year sweatshirt.