Parker residents who feel they have barely had a chance to enjoy the summer have two more opportunities for fun in the sun.
At least sunshine is what organizers and participants in the sixth annual Kids' TRY-athlon and fifth annual So Long to Summer 5K/10K are hoping for. The family-oriented running events — on back-to-back weekends Aug. 3 and Aug. 10, respectively — are expected to attract a combined 500 people.
The Kids’ TRY-athlon was developed as a way for children ages 6-12 to experience new sports in a non-competitive setting. Based at the Parker Recreation Center, the participants are timed in swimming, biking and running. Each child gets a race bib and shirt, not to mention a sense of accomplishment at the end.
“It’s a really empowering thing when a 6-year-old can say, ‘Hey, I completed a triathlon,’” said Hillary Roemersberger, fitness and wellness coordinator for the Town of Parker.
The TRY-athlon has caught on, as registration has more than doubled since its inception. It’s particularly exciting for the progeny of triathletes, who normally watch from the sidelines but have the chance to actually get involved in a triathlon with kids their age.
The So Long to Summer course layout was designed with beginners in mind, and the event is advertised as non-competitive, although some runners compete to qualify for other races, such as the Bolder Boulder. The So Long to Summer route, which leads from Salisbury Park to the Cherry Creek Regional Trail, is certified by USA Track and Field, Roemersberger said.
The main goal is to bring out a mix of participants — dogs and kids in strollers are encouraged — to get active in the morning and enjoy Salisbury Park’s scenic views.
“The idea is it’s a way for everybody to come out and enjoy the end of summer before school starts,” Roemersberger said.
Officials added a 10K portion this year and have run a training program at the recreation center in recent weeks to enable more serious racers to prepare. A free kids’ dash will be open to those ages 8 and younger.
With an estimated 350 participants, So Long to Summer is among the larger run/walks in Parker, but it pales in comparison to the Turkey Day 5K, which drew around 1,200 guilt-ridden people last year.
The $15 pre-registration period for the Kids’ TRY-athlon closes Aug. 2, but racers can sign up the day of the event for $5 more.
Pre-registration for So Long to Summer closes on Aug. 8, but the $5 fee applies for people who sign up the day of the race. It costs $25 for the 5K and $35 for 10k. The entry fee includes a pancake breakfast.
For more information or to sign up for the events, visit www.parkeronline.org and click on the ‘parks and recreation’ tab.
Kids’ Try-athlon — 7 a.m. Aug. 3 at the Parker Rec Center
So Long to Summer 5K/10K — 8 a.m. Aug. 10 at Salisbury Park