FOLSOM — Hannah Pawlek has played soccer most of her life but last spring the Oak Ridge High junior suffered an injury that forced her to drop the sport.
“I needed a new sport,” said Pawlek who wanted to stay active. “I love biking and I love running.”
Pawlek was one of 32 young adults — ages 5 to 16 — who recently competed in the three-day Epic Tri Kids Triathlon Camp last week at Vista del Lago High. The camp was a preparation for a five-week training camp that started last week and leads up to a Sept. 15 youth triathlon at Vista.
Epic Tri trains athletes in swimming, biking and running half and full marathons before taking on a triathlon. According to Kari Duane, a trainer who ran the camp, it’s believed to be the first time that a youth triathlon camp has run in Folsom.
“I’m really excited,” said Pawlek of next month’s triathlon. “I want to win this race. That’s my ultimate goal — to win this race.”
The three-day triathlon was broken into three age brackets; 5-8, 9-12 and 13-16. The events that the young athletes are preparing for is swimming, bicycling and running.
Youths in the 5-8 age bracket swam 50 meters, bike ride two miles and ran one mile. Youths in the 9-12 age bracket swam 150 meters, bike ride four miles and ran two miles. Youths in the 13-16 age bracket will swim 300 meters, bike ride six miles and ran four miles.
Holland Doshier, 17, is an El Dorado Hills resident who attends a boarding school out-of-state. He is preparing for the upcoming skiing season.
“I needed something to motivate me,” Doshier said.
The triathlon was “manageable” Doshier noted.
Pawlek described the hard work that she felt was rewarding in the end.
“You see so much improvement so quickly,” Pawlek said. “Kari is a great coach. She really pushes you extremely hard.”
On the second day of the three-day camp, the duo and six other high school students had finished a four-mile bike ride on a path adjacent to the campus. The six-mile ride was completed the following day.
“I think we pushed ourselves a little bit farther,” Pawlek said.
Justine Majewski, 11, of Rescue, competed in a triathlon when she was 6 years old.
“I like biking and swimming,” Majewski said.
Duane and Amanda Aldrich, received their youth and junior certification to teach people to train for a triathlon last October.
“This was our first three-day camp,” Duane said.
During the camp, Duane noticed the kids’ interests in one of the three events really peaked.
“They love it all but the bike is something that kids do not get to do as much as I did when I was a kid! Kids don’t bike ride to friends houses or to the local grocery store,” she said. “Parents are worried about traffic, danger and all sorts of things. They love bike riding as a group and the freedom of feeling the movement on the bike.”
Duane, 51, has competed in numerous sprint distances and half Ironman events. The week after conducting the inaugural kids triathlon, Duane will compete in her third Ironman full distance event in Lake Tahoe that includes a 2.4 mile swim and 112-mile bike ride.
The youths committed to the triathlon will meet twice a week until the day of the triathlon to prepare. Duane said about 98 percent of the kids who took part in the camp are taking part in next month’s triathlon.
“We will meet as a group and continue to build on the base of fitness that was established at camp so that these kids will be in shape for the race,” Duane said. “We will also provide a training plan on days that we do not meet as a group.”
Duane said that she is still taking registration for kids who want to compete in the five-week camp in preparing for the triathlon.
Youths interested in taking part in the ongoing camp that started this week should contact Duane immediately at (916) 605-9961, [email protected] visit epictri.com.