Lower age limit delights kids

By sports reporter, sport@dailypost.co.nz

For three years Zoey Brasell has been nagging her mother about wanting to join in the annual Contact Ironkidz triathlon on Taupo's lakefront.

And for three years her mum, Tash Brasell, has had to tell Zoey that she would have to wait until she was the minimum age of 8 years to be able to enter.

But all that's changed this year, with the lower age limit dropped to include 7 year olds - and Zoey couldn't be happier.

Younger sister Ruby, 5, is also excited that she'll get to compete too, with the introduction of a new Splash and Dash category for the 5 to 7-year-olds.

The call is also going out to all Rotorua children to enter the fun event, which has everything from the Splash and Dash to a competitive elite section for serious young triathletes.

Ironkidz, a triathlon for 7 to 15 year olds, is run on the Taupo lakefront on February 24 on part of the same course the Ironman New Zealand competitors use and it has always attracted a good turnout of entries from Rotorua.

Organised by Waipahihi School in Taupo and with experienced event director Keith Crate at the helm, Ironkidz is in its 13th year and offers a triathlon over varying distances to suit different age groups.

The emphasis is on participating and having fun, although there is a timed elite section for 11 to 15 year olds. Children can enter as individuals or in a team.

Sporty Zoey, who said she loves doing exercise, is thrilled that after two years on the sidelines tugging at her mum's hand, she'll now have the chance to join in.

And Ruby, who loves to run everywhere, already has the dash (short run) part of the Splash and Dash down pat.

Luckily for her, the splash section is a paddle in the lake, and children are not expected to be able to swim.

Mrs Brasell said while she's not entirely sure where her daughters' strong interest in exercise comes from, she's grateful they're so keen to give things a go at an enjoyable, child-centred sports event.

Safety is a key consideration, with lifeguards and safety kayakers on hand for the swim section. Taupo's Lake Terrace is closed for the duration of the event so that children can compete the bike leg without traffic.

There is a huge range of spot prizes up for grabs and each child who completes Ironkidz receives a medal and certificate.

For information or entries, visit www.ironkidz.com

- Rotorua Daily Post

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