By:  Gloria Heye

The sun rises over the wooden playground of Plymouth Park, my whistle is pursed upon my lips, and then SPLASH! It has begun.

As a volunteer, I always look forward to the summer Tri-Kids-Try youth triathlon at Plymouth Park. This year will be no exception! From the Mini TKT on Friday, July 15 at 6:00pm for those 3 to 5 years old, to July 16 for Main Event for kids ages 6 to 15 (Start time 8:15am). Both are amazing opportunities to engage with the community and promote building a healthy lifestyle from a young age. This is one event your kids will remember for a lifetime and if you start now to encourage your kids, they’ll swim, bike and run all summer long AND at TKT! Registration is open at

I have lifeguarded the first leg of this youth triathlon many times and I never forget the array of kids I see on race day. The intense child, with polka dotted arm floats, determined to finish without any aid, completing the swim with the largest smile as they complete the first stretch of the event. The time-taker, who just enjoys the cool feeling of water right before biking and running under the sun. Lastly, the child who just came to have fun, which is honestly all of them. There is a place for each and every child at the race. No experience required and ALL are welcomed!

On the volunteer side, although I am an event lifeguard, I meet so many others through TKT Crew experience. All are there to keep kids safe, and of course cheer them on as they progress and cross the finish line….it never ends there. I always run into participants well after race day; at the grocery store, at the pool and throughout the community. They always speak with such excitement and joy of their time either actually doing the race or watching from the sidelines. They rave about the volunteers, the well-marked enclosed safe space, and the positive energy throughout it.

Everyone should experience the triumph of completing a Triathlon. Tri-Kids-Try and the MINI TKT are a great way to springboard any child to a life of higher self-esteem and healthy mindset. It’s just a fun-filled day to try something new, something challenging, or just to get a new personal record! Each age range has varied lengths and times in which they will race in and racers come from all over the state of Michigan (and some from beyond the Michigan border to take part in this standalone youth trialthon!) Over 300 young athletes participated in the 2021 event and we looking to grow even more this summer! So, make sure to check out race details on the Greater Midland Races website at and get your kids registered! The MINI TKT only has 75 spots available (less now…) so make sure you race to save a spot!

If you’re looking for a way to prepare for a triathlon there is a Kids Triathlon Camp at Greater Midland Community Center July 11th-15th that you can sign up for! If you have questions about the event or camp; please contact Jennifer Adamcik, Race Director at [email protected].