IronKids attracts hundreds of young athletes

Consider IronKids the snack-sized version of the famous IronMan triathlon. The young athletes still have to swim, cycle and run, but they do so on a course designed for their abilities. Hundreds competed against their peers at Old Settlers Park in Round Rock Sunday.

It was the first IronKids triathlon for 12-year-old Colten White.

You can participate in different events and compete against other people your age, he said.

The San Antonio native said he trained with his dad and swim team leading up to the big race. Colton admitted cycling and swimming were his strong suits.

When I was running, the cramps were really bad, he said. I just pushed through it.

Winter Vinecki, 12, cheered on her relatives moments after taking first place in her class. Winter is from Salem, Ore., and ran in memory of her father. He died three years ago from prostate cancer.

I know he's watching me, Winter said. Everywhere I go, I know he's there. I can sometimes just know and feel he's there.

Winter founded Team Winter soon after her dad was diagnosed. A tent at IronKids in Round Rock showcased literature and ways visitors could support her cause.

She's already raised more than $300,000 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation.

I definitely think, just from the help of Team Winter, that we are getting a lot more exposure out there for prostate cancer research, she said. The men don't want to talk about it, so a 12-year-old girl has to.

That 12-year-old girl has big plans for the next year. Winter will compete in seven marathons on all seven continents. She kicks off her tour in Antarctica this November.

Besides promoting prostate cancer detection, she hopes to inspire kids her age to follow their dreams and cross the finish line.

IronKids started in 1985 and now hosts triathlons in 24 cities. This year's attendance was nearly double that of last year's. More than 300 kids participated in the Round Rock IronKids Triathlon.

Seven-time Tour de France winner and Austin native Lance Armstrong is a former participant in IronKids.