Introducing kids to multiple sports and physical activity can create a positive impact on their overall health and wellness that extends well into the future. This is why Grand Rapids Triathlon is excited to offer a kids’ duathlon event for 2021. Children ages 5-11 will have the opportunity to participate in the two-day race weekend by running and biking their way to the finish line at the course located in Ada Park on June 19.
Cascade Pediatrics, with their shared support of getting kids out and active, will be the sponsor for the first annual 2021 Grand Rapids Kids Duathlon event.
The GRTri team had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Mark Weirich, MD of Cascade Pediatrics, and as an avid triathlete himself, find out why getting kids involved with duathlon and this event was important to the practice.
Why did Cascade Pediatrics get involved with Grand Rapids Triathlon?
“We had many reasons for wanting to partner with Grand Rapids Triathlon. As an office and a profession that is centered around the health of children, preventative medicine and promoting healthy choices that can last a lifetime, we at Cascade Pediatrics believe that healthy activity and fitness is key to the health and happiness of any child. We also love that it is a local event that caters to our community and many of our patients and parents have been involved with GRTri in various capacities such as participants, volunteers and organizers.”
What has been your personal involvement with Grand Rapids Triathlon?
“I am excited to say that I have been involved with Grand Rapids Triathlon every year it has taken place and I hope to keep that streak alive as long as I can. I have done all three distances of the triathlon and when I was injured and couldn’t run, I did the Aquabike. I love that there are so many options out there for any level of experience and any level of fitness. It is a very inclusive event.”
What do you love about triathlon?
“I love the sport because I love the challenge. I love to push myself and I also love the relationships I’ve made with others in the GR area. I am part of a triathlon team but that came about years after I was doing the sport and ran into the same great people year after year. I came at it from a swimming background. I was a high school swimmer, but then had 13 more years of college/medical school/residency and I managed to get out of shape and very overweight. I started to swim to lose weight and then was introduced to an indoor tri at my local gym – I was hooked. Over the past 13 years, I have done eight full-distance events, over a dozen half-distance triathlons and 35+ triathlons overall. Swimming is still my best and then I watch everyone pass me on the bike and the run, but it is still fun!”
Why do you think triathlon/duathlon is a good sport for kids to get involved with?
“I think triathlon and duathlon is the perfect sport for kids! We know that children that get pigeonholed into a single sport early are more likely to get injured and more likely to get burned out. Triathlon uses every muscle in the body and uses them in different ways. It’s a great way to stay active, burn calories, get mentally focused and have a good time. One of my favorite accomplishments is finishing the GR Tri with my daughter. It’s something the entire family can do together. You can finish together or you can finish apart and cheer on your family member still competing. It feels so good to cross the finish line and see your child do the same, knowing the event itself is just the victory lap for all the training and hard work you put into getting there in the first place.”
What are you most looking forward to this year with the Grand Rapids Kids Duathlon event?
“There is so much to look forward to this year at the GR Kids Duathlon! After quite the year in 2020, it will be so amazing just to be able to participate and compete again. I’m particularly excited about the venue for the kids’ race. I think the kids and the parents will be super excited to be at the same location as all of the other activities/events. I am planning on doing the sprint tri and cheering on the kids duathlon the same day. We hope to have a significant presence at the event, cheering and supporting all the participants!
For more information on the GR Kids Duathlon and registering for the event, please visit: https://grkidsduathlon.com/