Keremeos’ Junior Triathlon Club will be sending four representatives to Surrey to compete in the games, which take place between July 19 – 22.
The Keremeos contingent will represent 8.6 per cent of the total number of athletes competing in the triathlon at this year’s games – which hopefully will translate into some noteable finishes for the four.
Not bad for a village of 1,500 people.
It’s an example of what a small community can do when an enthusiastic and knowledgeable coach connects with equally willing athletes.
Noah Beglaw, 14, Mackenzie Lawrence, 13, Kassidy Todd, 13, and Vanessa Harris, 14, will compete in three events in the 14 -15 age group; an aquathon (300 metre swim and a one kilometre run), a duathlon, (one kilometre run, a five kilometre bike and a one kilometre run) and a triathlon (400 metre swim, a 10 kilometre bike, and three kilometre run).
The four youths have been involved in the Keremeos Junior Triathlon program since 2005, training under the tutelage and coaching of Similkameen Recreation Centre Manager Karl Donaghue – who is no stranger to triathlon events himself.
Donaghue recently returned from the World Masters Swim Championships in Riccioni, Italy, placing second, fourth and sixth in several different swim events.
“They will be competing in all events over two days, “ Donaghue said. “They have been training hard with at least five training sessions a week.- as an example, on Friday they rode up to Yellow Lake and back.”
All four junior triathletes show a surprising dedication to the sport, given their ages. They meet at Keremeos’ outdoor pool for swim practice on Monday evenings, bike and swim on Tuesdays, run and swim Thursdays and finish the week off with a lengthy bike ride on Friday. In between the scheduled training sessions, each of the four youths engage in individual training activities.
“We usually do one event on an individual basis six days a week, said Beglaw, who rates biking as his favourite part of triathlon.
Kassidy Todd and Mackenzie Lawrence don’t have a favourite event, saying they “Liked them all,” with Vanessa Harris declaring that the run portion of the event was her favourite.
Marnie Todd, who works in Keremeos as a registered massage therapist, has been assisting Donaghue (along with Nikki Lawrence) with junior tri club coaching.
“Keremeos is sending a strong contingent to the games this year,” she said, adding that the four triathletes are well prepared for the challenge.
“We began training in earnest in mid April, and have been ramping it up as the weeks have gone by,” she said, noting that the four youths were very active year round in other sports.
“Noah recently competed in Edmonton, and the girls just got back from the Wasa race in Cranbrook,” Todd said, “and all four are competing in the Boston Pizza Junior Triathlon in Penticton on July 15.”
The poor weather the Lower Similkameen experienced this spring didn’t faze the four either, who continued to bike, run and swim outdoors in spite of a number of cool, wet and windy days.
Following the B.C. Summer Games, the youths will continue to build their competitive skills, by participating in the “Kids of Steel” circuit (Canada’s National Youth Development Program).
As a matter of fact, there doesn’t appear to be anything that will stop these four athletes – except perhaps the bus schedule leaving Keremeos for Surrey prior to the games.
“We have to be on the bus by 3:55 a.m. on Thursday,” groaned Noah.
It’s that age-old problem with youth – getting them out of bed in the morning.