Max Garwick starts the cycling leg of the Northbrook ...
July 27, 2012
Local children got moving at Meadowhill Park and the Ed Rudolph Velodrome on July 20 for the Northbrook Park District's third annual Kids' Duathlon.
Seventy-eight young athletes from ages 5-14 participated in the event, which consisted of a 250-meter bike ride and a quarter-, half- or one-mile run, depending on the age group.
Participants received a medal of achievement and a goodie bag complete with a water bottle, coupons for park district activities and product samples. They were also invited to the Meadowhill Aquatics Center for post-race pizza and swimming.
"Tonight is more about fun and fitness than competition," park district communications specialist Gail Baritz said. "Kids participate in two activities in one sport, which is pretty unusual, and get to experience a terrific facility that is unique to Northbrook."
Karrie Gottschild and her 6-year-old, Graham, cheerfully encouraged 8-year-old Audrey Gottschild at the start of her turn in the cycling leg of the event: the Flying 250, which consisted of bikers riding individually against the clock. Graham competed in the 5- to-7-year-old age group.
"Audrey is pretty active. She plays basketball and soccer, swims and does karate," Karrie said. "But this is the first time she's done something like this, and she's really excited about it."
Audrey covered 250 meters in 27.1 seconds.
"I got really tired at the end," she said, "but I got energy when I heard my friends [cheering me on]."
She was also the first girl in her age group in her heat for the running portion, going a half-mile in 3:19.
"What's great about this event is that the kids who participate walk away with a sense of achievement for what they've done," said Jon Pratscher, a leisure services supervisor for the park district.
Leisure services supervisor Angus Shields said he was happy with the event's turnout, which has grown each year.
"We partner with Northbrook Bicycle Club on this event," he said. "The club hosts a children's learn-to-ride at the velodrome every Wednesday, as well as rider development activities and races throughout the season. So that really helps generate participation for this event."
But some participants, like Westcott School third-grader Sean Coughlin, had never cycled at the velodrome before July 20. He spent a little time before the race trying out the track banks.
"It's a little more difficult than riding on a regular sidewalk," he said. "It actually gets faster on the small sloping part, and then you go really fast on the flat parts."
Greenbriar School fourth-grader Michael Mosko, on the other hand, competed in last year's event and returned this year with the goal of improving his times.
"I want to bike and run faster than I did last year," he said.
Michael took first in his half-mile heat at 3:19. His 6-year-old brother, Joey, also signed up for the event this year after noting Michael's enthusiasm.
"It's not intimidating. It's perfect distances," said their mother, Nancy. "They don't bike enough or run very much, so it's a perfect way to keep them interested in both and expose them to a new sport."
Westcott student Ella Shmarak, 7, participated in the duathlon for the first time this year. Her parents, Amy and Michael, said she recently participated in a fun run and wanted to try cycling as well.
"She's out to do her best today and have a good time," Amy said.
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