Kids Triathlon Not Only Test Of Endurance, But Spirit Too - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/28/07-Lindale

Kids Triathlon Not Only Test Of Endurance, But Spirit Too

It's a test of endurance, strength, and stamina, and it's only for kids.  This year, nearly 100 children participated in the seventh annual Kids-Only Triathlon at Hideaway Lake in Lindale.

The anticipation, the excitement and the send off as the kids from all over Texas spent their Saturday morning, not watching cartoons, but instead swimming, biking, and running.

"I like the swimming because if you're hot and sweaty you can get all cold," says 9-year-old Savannah Saczek.

"It's just great fun," said a proud mom, Julie Metz.  "The kids love it, so it's a good challenge for them."

"It's just good for their self-esteem to finish these races and do well," says a proud dad, Robert Cox.  It's all part of the Kids-Only Triathlon created just for kids and their health.

"There's a national crisis in childhood obesity, and I think anything that we can do to get kids active, if you think about it, most kids really like to swim, bike, and run, so it was just kind of natural if we give them the opportunity to do it," says Kids-Only Triathlon founder John Webb.  But there's more to the competition than just the exercise.

"He has this need, and he's still doing just as much as we are," says participant Mitchell Assaf.

Mitchell's talking about Nicolas Cooke, a 12-year-boy with Downs Syndrome.  He's competing in the race alongside everybody else.

"He just wants to do what anyone else is doing, and all the kids, whatever they're doing, that's what he wants to do too," says Nicolas' mom Linda Cooke.  All of the kids have "Nicolas" written in marker on their arm.  It's a reminder during the race to keep on going.

"I hope that just by seeing him that other people will say hey, if he can do it, then I can too," said Cooke.  It's a race where everyone's a winner and one special athlete in particular, an inspiration here and in the race of life.

Tracy Watler, Reporting. tracy@kltv.com

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