MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. -- Sandra M. Fairfield’s children dedicated their sweat and effort to their father, an Army lieutenant colonel currently serving in Afghanistan, during Cherry Point’s annual triathlon Saturday.
“The kids are out here running for Daddy,” she said. “He’s been deployed a lot so we’re spending time with family and traveling to keep us busy.”
Fairfield and her daughter have participated in triathlons together in the past, but this year is different. Cherry Point Marine Corps Community Services added mini-triathlons for children ages 7-12.
“I was looking for something that the kids can do on base,” said Berna Crosby, the special event coordinator for MCCS. “I thought a mini-triathlon would be a good way for them to get some exercise and see some of their friends.”
Children ages 7-9 swam 50 meters, biked 1.5 miles and ran a half mile. Children ages 10-12 did double that distance. Contestants ages 13 and up competed in a 400-meter swim, 10-mile bike and 5k run.
“This is my daughter’s second year and she loves it, especially knowing that her dad is proud of her,” Fairfield said. ”It’s amazing to see their little faces as they cross the finish line and that we can take pictures to send to her dad.”
Families gathered around the finish line to see their little loved ones finish the triathlon.
“I think it’s great that it encourages physical fitness in the young ones,” said Courtney G. James, whose 10-year-old daughter competed on Arapahoe Charter School’s team for the first time. “She loves it.”
Overall winners in each age division received trophies, and every participant received a medal upon completion. Patrick Trabert took the men’s division, finishing at 56:43. Andrea Packard led the women with a time of 1:01:23. The fastest time for boys age 10-12 was 27:06 and for girls age 10-12, 20:25. The top time finisher for the boys age 7-9 hit the finish line at 14:09, and the girls age 7-9 champ crossed at 15:57.
“It turned out to be an outstanding event,” said Crosby.