This past weekend (12 - 14 April 2013) was Ironman weekend in Port Elizabeth which, in addition to the main Ironman event on Sunday, also included an Irongirl 8km run on Friday and Corporate Ironman and Ironkids on Saturday. Both Ironkids and Irongirl are the biggest events of their kind in the world. Just for those who don't know what Ironman is, its an ultra triathlon with competitors doing a 3,8 km swim followed by a 180 km cycle and ending off with a 42,2km run. Ironkids are open to kids between 6 and 13 years old with the 6-9 year olds doing a 60 m swim and 1,2km run and the 10 - 13 year olds doing 100 m and 2km respectively. Somewhere the organisers slipped up this year though and all the kids ran the same distance. I'm not complaining too loudly as I followed Chaos Boy on foot from the swim to the end and aren't really in the same shape he is for a distance run. *wink* This year both the KidZ took part in Ironkids with Chaos Boy doing it for the first time while Drama Princess also took part last year.
Because it was Drama Princess' second time she was quite at easy with the whole process, even taking the opportunity to smile and wave at dad while waiting to go to the swim start.
Chaos Boy was a little more nervous. He's not a very good swimmer and had a long discussion with one of the volunteer helpers. Apparently he asked if he had to dive in and she said that he could also just jump in. He then asked if its fine to just climb in which he subsequently did when the whistle blew.
The kids were split into groups of twenty at a time. Each group had at least 10 lifeguards swimming with them and helping out the kids who can't swim that well or who got tired along the way. Drama Princess (8) made sure she grabbed herself a lifeguard from the get go.
As Chaos Boy (11) is in an older age group the lifeguards don't dive in with them and watch them carefully from the side. When they noticed that he just paddled along they kept a special eye on him and kept asking if he was alright. After a bit he shook his head and two guys dived in, one then helping him through to the end of the swim. I take my hat off to these youngsters, jumping in and out, swimming with the kids and then running back to the start for a good three hours straight.
The run went a lot better with both the KidZ not having any problems with that. The Damselfly tracked Drama Princess on the run, following her to the end, while I did the same with Chaos Boy. Following them was more to see how they do as there were marshals, volunteers, scouts and police personnel along the way to ensure that all the kids stayed safe.
I am so proud of both the KidZ for taking part in this fantastic event. Chaos Boy isn't really the sporty type and after watching his sister last year wanted, to our surprise, do it this year. He did extremely well and, to be honest, I had a tear in my eye when he wasn't bothered with the other kids diving in and swimming right out from under him. He just did his thing.
Unlike her brother, Drama Princess is very sporty and competitive. Daddy's little sports star. This kind of thing is just down her alley and she couldn't wait to take her medal to school to show her teacher and the head master. I'm sure we will be back again next year.