Area Youth Seize Summer Triathlon Challenge

MENASHA (WFRV) - This summer, several area youths are training for and doing something exciting and challenging that just a small percentage of people in the world has ever attempted--a triathlon.

Earlier this year, Linda Kuhaupt and Sarah Marnocha, members of the Tri Fox Triathlon Club and teachers in the Fox Valley, presented their idea for a kid’s summer triathlon class to Chris Otto, Menasha’s Summer Adventure program administrator. The course was approved and has been very well received by students.

The five-week course, Training for Triathletes, meets four days a week for two hours a day. Running, swimming and biking drills, as well as sport specific exercises, are practiced Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. On Thursday, an actual triathlon race is held at Jefferson Park in Menasha utilizing the Menasha Pool and the running and biking paths in the park. Body marking, goody bags, race bibs, race belts and a complete transition area are all a part of the students’ triathlon experience.

Students are also learning and encouraged to compete against the clock to earn a PR-a personal record. “Forget about the other triathletes--it’s a race against the clock,” says Neenah sixth grader Alec Cannon. “This class has made my fitness improve tremendously,” said David Marnocha. In addition to improved physical fitness and health, students are experiencing the value of being a part of a challenging, supportive and encouraging triathlon community.

“It is just a joy to share one of my passions with these eager kids,” states Linda Kuhaupt. “We have tried to make our races as much like the triathlons we ourselves compete in,” remarked Sarah Marnocha. Both instructors also have two of their own children participating in the class.

Parents who attend the weekly races to help out and cheer on their children are thrilled with the class and the direction Kuhaupt and Marnocha provide to the kids. Sue Thelen’s daughter, Jenna, a seventh grade student at Seton Catholic Middle School, absolutely loves the class. “It has truly been the highlight of her summer. She looks forward to the class every day and is excited and motivated by the encouragement and training given by Kuhaupt and Marnocha. These ladies are amazing!”

Although the class’ last triathlon will be held at Jefferson Park on Thursday, July 17, it will not be the last for most of the students, including Neenah fourth grader Mark Cannon. He comments, “I’ll be doing triathlons for the rest of my life because of this class.” The event will be held at 8:30am for the third to fifth grade class and at 10:30am for the sixth to eighth grade class.