Bedford kids are triathletes

A group of Bedford youth experienced a motivator to keep moving – an action-packed round of swimming, biking and running at the fourth annual Granite Kids Triathlon, an event held this summer at Cobbetts Pond Beach in Windham.

Bedford participants in the state’s largest triathlon event designed for kids, launched Aug. 24, included Roisi Russell, 10, Sam Tynan, 11, Alec Dalton, 12, Sarah Jacobs, 10, Caroline Twite, 9, Ellie Tynan, 9, Niamh Russell, 12, and Emma Jacobs. Participants swam, biked and ran as if they were competing in the famed Hawaiian Ironman triathlon or any similar event.

Some 150 kids from many cities and towns attended the triathlon, one that in total has raised roughly $9,000 for local charities. The charity this year was Autism Speaks, an organization dedicated to autism science and advocacy.

The athletes in the Granite Kids Triathlon received backpacks, water bottles, T-shirts and other souvenirs. A finisher’s medal rewarded each contender and trophies went to the top three in various age groups ranging from six to 15 years of age.

Marie Russell is the mother of competitors Roisi Russell, 10, a fifth-grader at McKelvie Intermediate School, and Niamh Russell, a seventh-grader at Ross A. Lurgio Middle School. She said the event honed the kids’ athletic skills and brought families together for a fun activity. She also credited the parents for encouraging their children to be a part of the event.

“It showed a wonderful degree of support as all the different parents showed up with their kids at 6:30 in the morning,” Russell said. “It’s is a dedicated bunch of people. We’re just trying to make our kids’ dreams come true.”

Hawaiian Ironman finisher Chrisann Dalton, of Bedford, was on-hand to congratulate the participants. She was at that time training for the Ironman, an elite-level triathlon held in October that challenged men and women from all over the world.

She completed the Hawaii event, a 140.6-mile combo of swimming, biking and running that took her through lava fields and scoured her with winds of some 45 mph.

Dalton and other high-level athletes are a part of a team called, “Team Refuel,” a group with a motto, “Got chocolate milk?”

She espouses the use of chocolate milk as a good way to recover after a hard workout. She gave away dozens of bottles of chocolate milk to kids and spectators at the event.

Hood Dairy in Concord donated the flavorful beverages.

The Granite Kids Triathlon was a USA Triathlon-sanctioned event.

Russell added that many of the competitors show up year after year and enjoy seeing the increase in their strength, speed and power as they mature into seasoned athletes.

For more information, visit www.granitekidstriath