IronKids Rule!

Kids doing triathlons? That’s right: according to USA Triathlon, kids between 7 and 17 now make up 25% of the total number of triathletes. It’s an official sport in the Olympics and the USA Triathlon Association is working towards making it an NCAA sport.

Wow! Last month I wrote here about Michelle Obama’s bid to beat the world record for jumping jacks with about 400 grade school students, as part of her Let’s Move! campaign, but those kids have nothing on these IronKids!

First Triathlon At Age 5

From abc2 news:

Winter Vinecki is just 12, but she’s a veteran when it comes to triathlons. She started out when she was just 5, “After that first tri, I was really hooked on the sport.”

Then there are the Connerty children: 6 year old Annabell and 8 year old Huntley. They are beginners who just crossed the finish line for the first time ever. Huntley plans on doing tris to stay a healthy child, “I like it and it keeps you healthy.”

They were proud to cross the finish line. Winter, on the other hand, is setting records. She’s won two National titles and is the Ambassador for Ironkids. After losing her father to prostate cancer she even launched a worldwide team to raise money to help find a cure. This is her passion. She thinks everyone should give it a ‘tri’, “You can race for a cause. You can do it for yourself. You can do it as part of a relay.”

One Third Of U.S. Kids Overweight Or Obese

Childhood obesity is a major concern in the U.S. today, with one third of our young people either overweight or obese. So this is great news that some children are getting active by taking part in triathlons. I wish I had thought to add them to my book Get Out!, which has 150 ways for kids to be active.

In case you’re trying to imagine little kids doing an Ironman triathlon, with its 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run, don’t worry: distances are sized down, according to the age group.

Dozens Of IronKids Events Every Year

And as first reported on abc2news, Micheel Payette, IronKids director, points out that many children are already doing triathlons each weekend, without realizing it: “Kids, you know, they’ll get up on a summer day, get on their bike, ride to the lake or pool and swim around, get out and play tag. That’s a triathlon.”

The mission of Ironkids, which holds dozens of events around the country every year, is “to inspire and motivate youth through the sport to lead an active, positive, and healthy lifestyle.” I love it!

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Photo Credit: YMCAGreaterOKC


Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers6 years ago

Thanks for sharing. It is good to see kids keeping active.

Mark Sebree
Mark Sebree6 years ago

I appreciate the calls to not force kids into these types of sports and activities, and I agree with it. However, in any large population of kids (and adults) there are going to be some kids who really love and want to train for certain sports. Kids who love to swim and want to do so every free moment that they have, or run, or bike, or play football or basketball or baseball.

Parents should encourage their kids to try out sports and see what they like, mostly team sports. Perhaps as part of the "deal", they have to stick with it for one season or 6 months, depending on the sport, and then they can decide to continue or not. This is what my brother and sister in law did with their kids. This gives them a chance to give the sport a fair shake, and know if they like it or not. If they don't, then don't push them to continue. If they do like it, encourage their interest as long as it lasts, AND AS LONG AS THEY KEEP THEIR GRADES UP.

From the article, it sounds like the central girl that they were talking about Vinecki, really loves running triathlons. As long as the races are age adjusted and her parents are not pressuring her to continue them, I see no reason to discourage her from continuing. One thing is almost certain if she does continue. She is likely to be both a cross-country and swimming champ in her high school. :)

Claire Towers
Vanessa T6 years ago

Alison I sympathise. I was one of the unco-ordinated un-sporty kids who endured the humilation of constantly being picked almost last (with groans of "oh no, she's rubbish) when the class athletes were asked to pick their teams. I was also one of the top in science and maths.
However I am now a TaeKwonDo black belt, and love to keep fit. It is good for people to be fit, it's a simple fact, and you don't have to be sporty to do a bit of cardio and strength work-out. Keeping fit helps the brain too. You can overdo it fitness, but then you can overdo inactivity too.
Muscle does not turn to fat, but people often gain wight when they stop the exercise but still eat the same, and compounding that it's harder to stay slim when we reach our 30's anyway.
As for children, running and climbing trees, riding their bikes, swimming, activities that require the natural use of their own strength will generally be very good for them. I am no doctor but many believe (and I trust their research) that children should not overdo the strength training, especially with the use of weights, as this can damage their joints.
Well done to these children. I genuinely congratulate their spirit, their dedication, their effort and their achievements, but I also have concerns that they may suffer joint problems if their bodies are being pushed too hard.
I have more concerns about children doing ballet.

Gloria Morotti
Gloria Morotti6 years ago

Thanks for the information.

Christine Stewart
Christine S6 years ago

I think it is great as long as the kids are not pushed beyond their limits and have age appropriate restrictions on training and distances in races....

Alison V.
Alison Venugoban6 years ago

Just what the world needs: more muscle-bound jocks who will run to fat when they stop. I was one of the "wierd little eggheads" in high school, who loved learning and studying. And was forced to do Physical Education to be picked on. Forty years later, I'm earning a good wage in a career I love that I studied hard for. And the jocks from my class? Most of them have died of heart attacks, strokes, emphysema and lung cancer. Don't dis those of us who are uncoordinated or clumsy or just don't want to run a marathon or do backflips, or chase around a muddy field with a mob of others after a ball. We might just be the ones who become the doctors, for instance, who fix up the guys who ruin their bodies with excessive exercise: I've seen arthritis is pro athletes and amateurs alike, busted knees, broken bones, long-term damage. It's not so great. Do please support those of us who prefer to think. Running's not so great.

Magdalena K.
Past Member 6 years ago


Tyson Weems
Tyson Weems6 years ago

There are a lot of CrossFit Kids programs going on right now. They combine gymnastics, running, jumping, climbing, and other fitness-building activities using games and lots of fun "toys" like mini kettle bells. The idea is to teach kids about movement and how being active can make them feel good and do better in school. Triathlon is fine, but for little athletes I like the idea of keeping the activities more broadly useful and varied.

Randi L.
Randi Levin6 years ago

Why separate these kids from others, why call them IRON KIDS are they that special over the others. and how many of these kids are or were OBESE.

Why tell these children that they are the best when they may be. AND WHY PUSH THEM TO PERFORM AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE---for the results later in life may be diasterous!!!!!!

I believe that such pressure on a little kid is too much pressure and sets them up for failure as they grow up.

OH I was an IRON KIDS-----most will say SO WHAT----hence the ego is destroyed. Children need to find a sense of self and self identity rather than develop an sense of idenity simply as an athlete yet without a sense of self secured first! And yes too much exercise early in life---combined with the pressure to perform and succeed can lead to life threatening emotional Disorders and Eating Disorders!


Jo Asprec
Jo Asprec6 years ago

Bravo IronKids!