IronKids participant lives up to the name

The IronKids Triathlon Sportsmanship award went to 7-year-old Matthew Solcher last weekend.

Not necessarily because he was the quickest or the strongest, but because he kept going.

During the Sara Lee IronKids triathlon Sept. 17 at Free State High, Solcher proved the race did not always go to the swift.

Solcher hit a bump during the bike riding portion of the event and ended up on the pavement.

Diane Solcher, Matthew’s mother, said he was caught off guard when he fell and sustained scrapes on his elbows and knees and a bleeding mouth.

“He started to come through the street by the swim area,” Diane said. “He saw the big crowd and got really excited and hit a speed bump and flew over his handle bars.”

After falling off his bike half way through the triathlon, Solcher, bloodied and shook up, hopped back on his bike to finish the race. He soldiered on through the bike portion and then ran to finish the triathlon.

When it was determined that Solcher was not seriously injured, he finished the race.

Diane said it was important to Matthew that he finished because he had spent a lot of time training for the triathlon this summer. She said Solcher swam laps and rode his bike on a three-mile course during the weekends when many kids enjoyed their summer vacations.

At a ceremony following the event, Solcher was given the sportsmanship award to recognize his persistence and tenacity as he overcame an obstacle when some may have thrown in the towel.

And now, nearly 10 days after the fact, Solcher has remained unfazed by his feat.

The triathlete merely remembered all the reasons why he should get up and finish the race.

“I wanted to keep going,” Solcher said. “I really wanted to finish for my mom and dad, because they were there and I really worked hard getting ready for it.”

Diane said that Solcher’s mishap would not deter her from letting him participate in events like the IronKids triathlon in the future.

“If IronKids is here again next fall, we’ll do it again,” she said.