'Tri-ing' their best — Area youths vie for bragging rights in Triathlon





All set to glide across 100 meters in the youth triathlon at the Big Pool Saturday morning, 11-year-old Cayden Cundiff, with his lime green swim cap pulled tightly down on his head, said he wasn't nervous at all.

"No, I'm not nervous. I can do this," Cayden said.

But don't ask his mother, Stacy Cundiff, who thought her son was more nervous than anything.

"I know he's a really good biker and runner, but I think he's a bit nervous about swimming," she said.

What nerves Cayden may or may not have had all disappeared as his mom and other spectators cheered him and other children on in the first youth-only triathlon sponsored by the Garden City Recreation Commission.

"Our whole goal is we're trying to promote being healthy and being active specifically to the kids," said Meghan McFee, fitness director at the Garden City Recreational Commission. "We promote it heavily to the adults, but we want to really target the kids."

Normally, the triathlon is hosted by the Garden City Family YMCA for adults and youth on the same day. The youth have been training for the event since May.

McFee added that the event is also meaningful to families in general because some kids can't swim, run or bike on their own in the triathlon, and they need their parents to participate in the event with them. She said that creates a stronger family bond.

Like Stacy, a large number of parents were cheering on their children during the youth triathlon wearing shirts that read, "Tri For God," by Bible Christian Church, to push the message of trying your best.

"We just want them to try and give their all," Stacy said.

Among the participants was a family new to Garden City, with three of their eight children participating in the triathlon. One child, Moses, 10, was cheering on his 7-year-old brother Matthew as he huffed around the bend of the zoo's course.

"Come on Matthew!" he yelled. "Let's go Matthew you're almost there!"

Mathew crossed the finish line after a lap for the 8 and under age group in Finnup Park, and there, waiting for him, were his proud mother and father, Scott and Emanda Rosen.

"What an incredible program the "Tri for God" team is, and then to have a city put on a triathlon for the kids is a great cause and so fun," Scott Rosen said, who is the new pastor at Bible Christian Church.

"It has built their confidence and excitement for exercise and teamwork. It's been great," Emanda Rosen said.

They also had an 8-year-old daughter, Mirial, who swam and biked as well.

"The water was a little cold, and they were shocked by it," Emanda Rosen said as she laughed. "But it's good they are trying new things."

There were 32 total participants in the first time event, and they all received medals.

"They tried, and they did it with mind, body and spirit," Stacy said.

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