Children ages 8 to 18 competed in the fifth annual Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Youth Triathlon, held on November 13 at the Salt River Community Building. Twenty-two children competed in the event, which took place a week prior to the actual Ford Ironman Arizona triathlon that comes through the Community.
This year, Marcus Porter and Suomva Puhuyesva, both 12, finished in front. Both boys said getting in and out of the water was the hardest part of all three triathlon events, which included a 100-yard swim, two-mile bike ride and one-mile run.
Once they got through the cold swim, it was a race between the two to cross the finish line first. Porter won a bicycle for coming in first, and Puhuyesva won an actual Salt River Triathletes jersey that the Ford Ironman triathletes wore on their race day.
When everyone was finished, Chances for Children, a support program to improve quality of life by providing access to sports, physical education and character education for youth, held a prize raffle for new bicycles. Emiliano Acosta, 11, was the first winner. Acosta is also a wrestling state champion in his weight class and attends Whittier Elementary in Mesa. Shortly after he won his bike, two of his siblings also won one. Their mother jokingly said that they could ride their new bikes home. Chances for Children donated 13 bicycles for the raffle, and Salt River Triathletes also donated one.
This event gives the children a sense of pride in knowing that they have completed a triathlon; it’s also a great way for youth to stay involved and active within the Community, organizers said.
Others providing support to the event were Ironman Arizona Race Directors Paul Huddle and Rock Frey; Janell Bolen, executive director at Chances for Children Arizona; Salt River Triathletes; Justin Kern, program coordinator for Aquatics & Safety Education at Arizona State University; and Hessam Salim of Red Rock Co., who also served as the master of ceremonies for the event.