The South Orange and Maplewood recreation departments are teaming up to offer the Two Towns Triathlon for kids on June 14.
Registration for the event has been open since April 15 and costs $30. Registrants must provide one proof of residency in South Orange or Maplewood. All registration will be held at The Baird recreation center.
Eligible participants will be children from ages 7-14. Categories are broken down by age groups: 7- and 8-year-olds, 9- and 10-year-olds, 11- and 12-year-olds and 13- and 14-year olds.
The Two Towns Triathlon won’t be a full triathlon in terms of the distances of each leg, but older children will compete over longer distances than younger children.
The race will start with a swim in the South Orange Community Pool in which all racers must wear the provided swim cap. Participants will then grab their bicycle and CPSC-certified helmet and head onto Mead Street, making a quick right onto Meadowbrook Lane. Once racers hit the intersection of Meadowbrook Lane and Meadowbrook Place, they will enter the “loop.”
The “loop” portion of the route (Meadowbrook Place-Meeker-Mountain House-Hillside-Meadowbrook Place) will be circled once for the youngest athletes, said Pete Travers, assistant director of South Orange recreation. Each age group will add a loop: (9- and 10-year-olds will ride two loops, etc.
The participants will then run around the Duck Pond to finish the race.
Officials said the idea for a triathlon was conceived during a conversation last summer among Kate Schmidt, director of South Orange recreation, Keith Knudsen, director of Maplewood recreation and Travers.
“(Knudsen) was the one who originated the idea of the event,” Travers said. “(Schmidt) and I felt South Orange had a friendlier layout by the pool to accommodate the event and from there we began thinking about the event.
He said the trio has been working out the logistics of the race over the last six months. “(We) have full buy-in from the Village to make this event happen,” he said.
The three met early challenges in planning the event, including timing the race and planning the route while focusing on the safety of the children.
“We needed to work with the (South Orange Police Department) in designating a safe route for the biking while not hindering traffic flow tremendously as well as many other issues, but we worked together as a team and collectively solved any issue we came across,” Travers said.
All racers will receive a bronze participation medal, with first- and second-place medals for the top finishers for boys and girls in each age group.
While there will be winners of the race, competition was not the main reason for creating the triathlon, according to Travers.
“We are hosting this to provide a fun recreational activity that promotes wellness,” Travers said. “We have extended an invite to Judy LoBianco, supervisor of Health, Physical Education and Nursing Services for South Orange-Maplewood School District to speak at the award ceremony… She is a perfect person to give out the awards and speak at our event because she is a great promoter of health and well-being, and that it what this event is mainly for.”