First or last, we don’t care. What matters is to participate and make it to the finish line! Fortunately, most kid triathlons focus on completion rather than placement and they’re a great opportunity to get outside and have fun with other kids. With their race numbers in black marker on their arms and legs, kids get to run, swim and bike distances that vary according to their age. Some, like the Silicon Valley Kids Triathlon, even award medals to kids who freeze up on the pool deck and refuse to get in the pool. Others allow parent/kid teams for that extra parent comfort. Starting as early as age 3 (yes, you can complete a triathlon with training wheels and life vests), these kid-sized athletic events are blossoming all over the US and teaching kids that sports can be fun. Ready to get moving? Here’s a short list of local events.

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Jenny’s Light Kids Triathlon
One of the prime Bay Area kid triathlons, Jenny’s Light Kids Triathlon honors the memory of a special mom and increases awareness of all perinatal mood disorders including postpartum depression. On December 19, 2007, Jennifer and Graham Gibbs Bankston tragically passed away. Jenny suffered silently with postpartum depression but her symptoms could have been detected and treated. Jenny’s Light was created by her family to be a source of information, hope and inspiration. This triathlon is a fundraiser.

Location: San Mateo’s Aquatic Center
Date and time: May 5, 2013, 8:00am – 12:00pm
Registration fee: $35
Ages: 5 years+
Distances: 5-6 years old – 50 yard swim, 1.5 mile bike (2 laps) .6 mile run (1 lap).
Online: thresholdracinginc.com

Moraga Treeline Triathlon
In this kid version of an adult sprint triathlon (held on same day), each youth participant receives a medal as they cross the finish line and there are no awards for placement.

Location: Campolinda High School Campus and Soda Aquatic Center
Date and time: Saturday April 27, 2013
Ages: 5 years+
Distances: varying by age
Registration fee: for kids ages 5 to 7 years, $28 early registration.
Online: moragatri.com

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Positive Energy Triathlon
Parents love this event because it is non-competitive and includes a unique parent/child division where parents can get a little work out, making it good bonding experience for older kids and a more comfortable atmosphere for the younger ones. Even grand-parents or other relatives can sign up for the parent/child division.

Fostering a drive in children to do better, event organizers want to avoid the “what if I’m last?” worries from kids. Every child gets a medal for the finish and the top 3 girls and boys in each category get a prize.

Date: Sunday June 2, 2013
Location: Arroyo Park, Davis
Distances: Ages 6 and under, 25 yard swim, 1 mile bike, 1/4 mile run.
Ages: 3 years+ (parent/child category), 4 years+ (child)
Registration Fee: $25 before March 31, 2013
Online: changeofpace.com

13th Annual Silicon Valley Kids Triathlon
The largest youth triathlon in the country, the Silicon Valley Kids Triathlon starts with the swimming event at the De Anza College pool in waves of between about 25 to 50 kids. From the swim, kids run to a transition area put on their helmets and shoes (and anything else they need). Then they mount their bikes and head out to the bike course on the De Anza College campus roads (closed to all vehicular traffic). When the kids are done with the bike, they head back to the transition are to put their bike away and head to the run towards the De Anza Track. They finish the course on the infield of the soccer field.

Date: Sunday June 9, 2013
Location: DeAnza College, Cupertino
Distances: Ages 6 and under, 25 yard swim, 1 mile bike, 1/4 mile run.
Ages: 4 years+
Registration fee: $45/participant, family discount for multiple registrations
Website: wp.svkidstri.org/

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Kid Power Triathlon
This triathlon series is all about having fun while teaching kids about exercise and living healthy lives. Every little competitor receives a medal for participating, and the race is completely monitored from the pool to the bike course and running course. Volunteers are on hand to provide direction and make sure everyone is having fun. This summer is the first annual Kid Power Triathlon, and while details are still yet to be announced, it promises to be a fun-filled event.

Date: Sunday July 28, 2013
Location: Not announced at time of publication, visit their website for updated information
Distances: Ages 6-7 : 25 yard swim, 1/2 mile bike, 1/4 mile run
Ages: 6 years+
Registration fee: Visit website
Websiteflowerpowersports.comkid-power-triathlon-series/

Norcal Kids Triathlon Championship
Another one of the races form the Threshold Racing series, the Norcal Kids Triathlon lets future triathletes as young as 5 years old compete in varying distances for their very own participation medal. They’ll have access to a pizza lunch, and a whole lot of fun. Each leg of the race will be well-staffed by volunteers, and parents are encouraged to keep their little ones motivated by running alongside them and helping them with the transitions. It’s all about having fun and getting some exercise, so everyone is encouraged to participate.

Date: Sunday August 11, 2013
Location: Central Park, Santa Clara
Distances: Ages 6 & Under – 25 yard swim, 1 mile bike, .5 mile run
Ages: 5 and Up
Registration fee: $50
Websitethresholdracinginc.com/norcal-kids-triathlon-championship

Which of these events will your little athletes be racing in?

— Laure Latham

photo credit:  IanJMatchett & terren in Virginia