Photos from Sunday's IronKids triathlon at Free State High.
For two hours Sunday morning, over 100 youngsters at the IronKids triathlon were given a bit of special treatment.
After completing the final running event, each athlete was given the chance to cross the finish line with their names being called on a P.A. system and rock music playing across the fields at Free State High. According to IronKids race director Ryan Robinson, such attention was exactly the point.
"We want to make these kids feel like rock stars for at least one Sunday afternoon," Robinson said. "It's all about the kids here. We want to make them feel good and have fun and even learn some things about healthy living."
For 8-year-old Jordan Portela, taking part in the event accomplished a few of those goals.
"I felt like I did pretty good," Portela said. "I even passed a few people during the race. I had a lot of fun."
Portela was among 30 Lawrence youths who swam, rode and ran during Sunday's third stop in the six-city IronKids series. Although a number of those who participated had trained for just such an event, Portela had a little different avenue to the competition.
"I had some friends and my mom tell me I should go out," Portela said. "I like to run anyway so I figured it would be fun."
Robinson said it was those youngsters like Portela who were a big reason why this event took place.
"Our focus is on those kids who've never seen the event," Robinson said. "We like to try and get them exposed to the sport and show them what it's all about."
The number of participants for the event was about equal to that of last year's race, but Robinson said there were a number of factors that may have kept even more youngsters from attending.
"I think having the competition on Labor Day kind of hurt us," Robinson said, "along with a busy race schedule. There were a lot of things going on this weekend. But overall it was a smoothly run event."
Robinson added that the overall success of the event couldn't have been come about without a host of local volunteers.
As for the competition, the Lawrence contingent represented itself well with a strong showing on the medal stand with three first-place finishes and 15 total medalists.
Zach Andregg took first in the 13-year-old senior division, while a trio of Lawrence girls swept the 11-year-old senior division. Lucy Sirimongkhon-Dyck, Carissa Aldrich and Abbie Wise finished first, second and third respectively.
Seven-year-old Piper Rodgers was the youngest Lawrence resident to place as she finished first in the junior division.
Jordan Patrick and Mikey Corbett each took fifth place. Patrick in the boys 9-year-old division and Corbett in the boys 10-year-old group.
Zach Andregg third place 13-year-old boys senior division
Lucy Sirimongkhon-Dyck first place 11-year-old girls senior division
Carissa Aldrich second place 11-year-old girls senior division
Abbie Wise third place 11-year-old girls senior division
Hunter Robinson third place 12-year-old boys senior division
Canaan Campbell fourth place 11-year-old boys senior division
Cierra Campbell third place 10-year-old girls junior division
Mikey Corbett fifth place 10-year-old boys junior division
Sydney Sirimongkhon-Dyck third place 9-year-old girls junior division
Jordan Patrick fifth place 9-year-old boys junior division
Jordan Portela fifth place 8-year-old boys junior division
Piper Rodgers first place 7-year-old boys junior division