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Young triathlon participants inspired by Olympians they’ve been watching

By The Mercury

Imitating some of their favorite Olympians, Manhattan youths swam, biked and ran their way around City Park on Saturday morning.

About 180 children spanning all ages tested their athletic ability during the Manhattan Parks and Recreation’s Just Tri It Triathlon.

In the junior division, children swam 50 yards across the City Park pool, biked 2.4 miles around City Park, and then ran a half-mile to the finish line. A senior youth competition had a course double the length for each event.

At the inflatable finish line, volunteers were handing out medals to all who were able to finish the daunting event.

Parents were seen congratulating their young children, many as young as 6 years old, as they finished the race.

“Congratulations,” Jake Barnard said to his 6-year-old daughter, Jane. “I’m so proud of you!”

Jane, who was bashful and out of breath, said she enjoyed the race. But, “it was really hard,” she said.

Kimber Carlson, 6, said she was swimming like her favorite Olympian Katie Ledecky. She said she wasn’t able to watch Ledecky win more gold Friday night because she was resting for her own event Saturday morning.

“But I still watched her,” she said, referring to Ledecky’s earlier events.

Earlier in the morning, about 55 adults entered a much longer event and swam 400 yards, bike 12 miles through Manhattan and ran 5 kilometers. Some adults, still dressed in their racing gear and their participation numbers pained on their arms, had enough energy follow the track as their children raced.

Kim Cutting was the first to congratulate her son, Fletcher, for finishing. The race began one child at a time and was separately timed, but Fletcher was not the first to begin.

He passed a couple of other children with blistering speed on his way to the finish line.

“I’m super excited for him,” Cutting said. “He’s done such a great job.”

Cutting said her three boys all take after their father who also participates in triathlon.

“It’s well run, and we’ve done this a few years,” she said. “We appreciate they put it on.”

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