NEARLY 700 children swam, rode and ran around Bendigo in the Sanitarium Weet-bix Kids TRYathlon yesterday, cheered on by hundreds of supportive spectators.
Parents, siblings, friends and other supporters lined the fence of the QEO, holding placards and yelling messages of encouragement to the participants.
All competitors received a gold medal for their achievements and posed for a photo with sports stars including triathlete Leon Griffin and Bendigo Brave’s Ivan McFarlin and Jazzmarr Ferguson.
Bendigo’s Matthew Heisleis was the first 14 year-old across the line in his second attempt at the event.
“It’s a bit of fun,” he said. “It was very challenging, especially in the run at the end.”
Isabella Douglas, 14, said she was proud to have finished the event.
“It’s a good challenge. I think I did well.
“I’m very tired but I’m happy I’ve achieved this goal.”
The Bendigo leg is one of 11 across Australia and New Zealand, with over 37,000 children participating.
The 11 to 15-year-olds completed a 150-metre swim, six-kilometre ride and one-kilometre run, and seven to 10 year olds completed a 75m swim, 3km bike ride and 500m run.
Event course director Nick Munting said the event’s aim was to make every child feel like they were a champion.
“It’s great for their self-esteem (because) every kid is treated as a champion.
“They all get a medal.
“It’s not about winning; it’s all about trying and having a go.”