Learning from the experts: triathlon
In a town with so many triathletes, it seems like kids should be able to try a "tri" for themselves. In three weeks, Park City kids get their chance.
Jo Garuccio and Franklin Williams, both accomplished triathletes and certified track coaches are bringing the triathlon training clinic and race they have been organizing in Murray for the past four years up to Park City.
Both Garuccio and Williams have extensive backgrounds as triathletes and coaches. Last year, they were both members of the American contingent at the Triathlon World Championships in Honolulu. Garuccio is staff training coordinator for the ski and snowboard school at The Canyons and also teaches skiing. Williams also works at The Canyons as a staff trainer and ski instructor.
According to Garuccio, both the clinic and the race will be focused on fun for children. She says that her philosophy is to offer youth a lifetime sport they can use long after the organized sports of their school days are over.
"There is a lot of focus on team sports, not as much on individual sports," Garuccio said.
The camp will include workouts, technique work in the three sports and transitioning from one sport to the next. The camp uses videotaping to watch each child’s performance, so they can see the proper way to execute each part of the race.
Garuccio also hopes to bring in a well-known athlete to inspire the children. A preview of the racecourse will be part of the camp. She adds that within each part of the day, she incorporates games and other fun activities to keep the clinic interesting for the children.
Garuccio says that the multi-sport aspect of triathlons is ideal for young children. She explains that the activities are constantly changing, which keeps the kids interested. She also finds that it helps the children become more fit.
To avoid intimidation and promote inclusion, Garuccio makes sure that all young participants receive medals and the winner’s ribbons are small. She wants all kids to feel welcome and successful and doesn’t demand intense competition. She figures as kids grow up, the competitiveness will naturally develop.
"If you do all three sports, you are still a triathlete," Garuccio said. "Winning to me is less important than completion. I’m not pushing. I want them to enjoy the race and they can be as competitive as they want to be."
Most kids can handle the lengths of each leg of the race. Garuccio and Williams use USA Triathlon regulation distances for each triathlon. The swim is 75 yards, the bike leg is three miles and the run between three-fifths and one-half of a mile. The distances double for older participants.
Garuccio is attentive to the safety of the young triathletes both in the clinic and in the race. The course is carefully lined and mapped out for the children and Garuccio ensures that either herself, Williams or a volunteer is watching the kids at all times.
The youth clinic will be held Aug. 14, 16 and 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Park City Racquet Club. The Park City Youth Triathlon race is Aug. 19 at 8 a.m. The course will use the Racquet Club pool and the surrounding roads. Children must be between the ages of 7-17. Six-year-olds may compete with parental approval. Helmets must be worn during the bike leg of the race. The cost is $25, which includes a T-shirt and covers a USA Triathlon sanction fee. Pre-race meetings will be held Friday, Aug. 18 at 6 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 a.m. To register, visit http://www.sportsbaseonline.com . Garuccio is also looking for adult volunteers to help with the Park City race.
For more information and course maps, visit http://www.greatbasincoaching.com or call Garuccio at (801) 566-9727 or Williams at (801) 891-9200.
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.