More than 20 youngsters participated in the 2012 Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Youth Triathlon, held on November 10 at the Salt River Community Building.
The kids endured chilly water on a cool, breezy morning during the swimming leg of the event. After swimming 20 to 80 yards in the pool, they ran to their bikes for a 1.2-mile ride to the old Salt River Elementary School. After their ride, they went straight into a 0.4-mile run around the Salt River Baseball Field.
This year the first-place title went to Suonva Puhuyesva, the younger brother of two participants in the Ford Ironman Arizona triathlon, Doran and Derrick Dalton.
“I am in high school now, and one of my electives is weight training. So that kind of helped me physically be prepared for it this year,” said Puhuyesva. “I came in around second or third last year, so it felt really good to come in first place this year. I encourage the youth to participate next year; if they do, keep going and don’t give up.”
The SRPMIC Youth Triathlon is an opportunity for Community youth to experience a triathlon in a fun, safe and non-competitive environment. It was established to help give kids a sense of pride in knowing that they completed a triathlon and to demonstrate that exercise is healthful and rewarding. It also might pique their interest for future triathlons.
Once they crossed the finish line, the kids were greeted by Doran Dalton and given finisher’s medals.
Dalton and Community employee Caroline Sekaquaptewa, who also competed in the Ford Ironman Arizona triathlon, talked about their triathlon experience and encouraged the kids to keep going.
Dalton said, “Good job to all the youth who participated in the Youth Triathlon! You all did awesome; you make me, the Community and your parents proud. It takes a lot to do what you did, not only to finish a swim, bike, and a run, but it also takes courage to get out of bed and jump in that cold water. You guys are really tough, you should be proud of yourselves. I also want to thank all the adults who brought you out today. We hope to keep the Ironman going through the Community, and it starts with you all here today.”
Dalton was presented with a new bike, wetsuit and other gear to wear during his Ironman competition.
The event is sponsored by Ford Ironman Arizona, the SRPMIC Kids Foundation and Chances for Children. Chances for Children provided a number of bicycles and helmets, which were raffled off at the end of the event. The Salt River Tri-Athletes also donated a bicycle for the raffle. Red Rock Co. helped coordinate this event.