Beach race is on for Takapuna toddler

By Vicki Woolley

Proud mum Lisa Potts says 3-year-old Grace loves to compete in the 2.5km beach run with older sisters Sofia (5) and Ava (8).
Proud mum Lisa Potts says 3-year-old Grace loves to compete in the 2.5km beach run with older sisters Sofia (5) and Ava (8).

Every Tuesday, Grace Potts joins a throng of Kiwis heading to Takapuna to take part in the Harcourts Beach Series races.

What makes Grace remarkable is that she is the youngest competitor on the beach: the tiny Hauraki pre-schooler is just 3-years-old.

The Harcourts Beach Series runs for 18 weeks over summer, offering multisport training opportunities across three disciplines of swimming, running and stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). There are distance options to suit all ages and capabilities from beginners to elite athletes.

Grace participates in the 2.5km beach run with older sisters Sofia (5) and Ava (8). Mum Lisa runs alongside Grace: "We usually compete as a family for safety reasons and also to offer a bit of encouragement."

Sofia participated in the series for the first time last season and Ava is in her third year. The older girls plan to try the junior beach swim next season.

Grace is already a keen sportswoman - she also swims and does gymnastics.

"Grace really likes running races," Lisa says. "She is now doing little races all the time, especially in the park and on the beach. Mostly she enjoys being part of the event with her sisters and friends."

Lisa says participating in the Beach Series has benefited the family in a number of ways.

"I think it's important for all kids to learn a sport as it not only encourages good health and fitness, it is also a major confidence booster. Ava didn't used to like running without me, but now she is more than happy to run on her own. This year she has loved beating her previous running time.

"The older girls have participated in a kid's triathlon because of their experience at the series. It has helped them get a feel for sporting events, so they are confident to try other things. It's also really nice having things to do together as a family."

Event director Nick Carroll is delighted to welcome the Potts family at Beach Series each week.

"By taking part from a young age, youngsters like Grace are learning about the importance of being active while also having fun in a relaxed, community environment."

Beach Series

Harcourts Cooper & Co Beach Series

What: Swim, run or stand up paddle
When: Each Tuesday through to 29th March
Where: Takapuna Beach
For more information: www.beachseries.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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