While most people think of a triathlon as an endurance sport for just the very fit, Hal Hatchett, D.P.M.’00, considers it a combination of the activities kids love – swimming, bicycling and running. After he and his family moved last year into a new home surrounded by trails, he came home from a run one day and told his wife, Kimberly, “We need to have a triathlon here in our subdivision – for kids.”
Hatchett, a DMU trustee and podiatric physician in Goose Creek, SC, pitched the idea to subdivision leaders and the local Summerville Family YMCA, and the first annual YMCA Kids Triathlon was born. Open to youth ages seven to 14, the event featured a 100-meter swim in the subdivision’s salt-water pool, a bike race of either two and a half or five miles, and a run of either a half-mile or mile. More than 200 kids participated.
“Most of the kids had never tried anything like this,” says Hatchett, a triathlete for more than four years. “The Y offered a training program before the event. I told the kids, ‘If you can swim, you can do this.’”
Hatchett’s 11-year-old daughter, Mary Beth, who’s competed in other youth triathlons, also got involved: In addition to participating, she helped with workshops and took participants on the bicycle route prior to the event. Both Hatchetts are involved in organizing this year’s Kids Triathlon.
“It’s a great sport for kids,” he says.