Wilson YMCA event swims, bikes, runs into 9th year

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As the Wilson Family YMCA Youth Triathlon gears up for its ninth year, youth from ages 5 to 17 in Wilson and surrounding counties train for competition in the swim/bike/run event held Aug. 18 at the Recreation Center on Sunset Drive.

David Caudle, Wilson Family YMCA wellness and programs director, started the event in order to bring a different kind of athletic competition to Wilson’s youth.

“I race myself, and I wanted to bring this to Wilson and to the younger population,” Caudle said. “This is something different, something Wilson had never done.”

“My big thing is for kids to stay healthy and active and gives them another outlet other than basketball,” Caudle said. “And you have a feeling of accomplishment having completed three different sports.”

Participation in the event has been pretty consistent over the years with about 60 kids taking part, including people coming from out of town.

Registration for the youth triathlon is online only on the Wilson Family YMCA website, www.wilsonymca.org, and is listed under the “Programs” button. Participants need to register by Aug. 16.

New to the triathlon in 2018 is a youth with special needs division. Registration for this division is not available online, so interested parents should call Caudle directly at the YMCA.

“The past two years I’ve had a child with Down syndrome participate with his mother, and it’s incredible to see,” Caudle said. “That’s kind of where the idea for this new division came from.”

Participation in the special-needs division is less expensive because these races are not being timed and modified. Special-needs youth are welcome to participate in non-modified races, but Caudle needs to be aware of that ahead of time.

Special-needs athletes should have at least one parent participate with him or her. The event will be a swim and run event only, and the distances will be modified. They will swim 25 yards (one length in the pool) and run 1/2 mile (one lap around the field). The cost to participate will be $10 per child, and they will receive a finisher’s medal.

More information regarding the special-needs division is available on the event web page.

Another option for youth participating in the triathlon is the two- or three-person relay, with each athlete completing one or two out of the three races.

Caudle said that he has never seen a child not finish the Wilson Youth Triathlon.

“Some may struggle, but all have finished,” Caudle said. “It’s amazing to see some of these kids’ faces when they cross the finish line. You can tell they have such a feeling of accomplishment.”

For information about the Wilson Family YMCA Youth Triathlon, call David Caudle at 252-291-9622 or email dcaudle@wilsonymca.org.

Triathlon details

Ages 5-7: swim 50 yards, bike 1.5 miles, run 0.5 miles

Ages 8-10: swim 100 yards, bike 3 miles, run 1 mile

Ages 11-13: swim 150 yards, bike 4.5 miles, run 1.5 miles

Ages 14-17: swim 150 yards, bike 4.5 miles, run 1.5 miles


Individual: $35

2-person relay: $50

3-person relay: $65