No, it wont be a walk in the park or a lazy picnic. It’ll be faster than that and a lot more fun.
On July 16, is set to be the home for the TriROK Foundation’s ‘Families Get Fit Festival’. Beginning at 7 a.m. when the grass is still wet with dew, the six-hour event will feature a 5K-road race, a triathlon designed specially for kids, a pro BMX bike show, healthy living exhibits, a concert, and much, much more.
“Try racing for our kids” or TriROK, explains April Bowling, the foundation’s co-founder and executive director, “is about helping people self identify as athletes and about helping parents be healthy role models for their kids.”
“It started off as a bet with my close group of friends, a child playgroup, (that if I could do it they could too),” said Bowling, a self described “adult onset athlete.”
“A year after my son was born I decided I wanted to a participate in a sprint triathlon in Marblehead. It was a 250-meter pool swim, a ten-mile bike ride and a 3.5-mile run. I thought I was going to die afterwards.,” she said.
“The reason it seemed so fun at the time was because the alternative was two screaming kids,” she said, explaining what compelled her to take up competing in triathlons.
And her bet paid off. A year later she completed a half Iron Man triathlon.
“When I signed up to do the full Iron Man in Wisconsin I challenged my close group of friends,” she said. All but one of the friends met her challenge.
“One didn’t do it because she got pregnant,” said Bowling. “They completed the sprint triathlon in Marblehead and the November before most didn’t know how to swim at all, none ran at all and only one had a bike.”
“I have a deep seated belief that there’s nothing I can do that someone (else) can’t do. There’s nothing spectacular about it,” says Bowling.
In training for and completing her first triathlon, Bowling says, “I came to understand scientifically and psychologically how important exercise is.”
“Listening to my kids cheer (when I was competing) was something tangible. A lot of our lives and work (these days) is not tangible.” Bowling added, “Even parenting, has no 'ah-ha' moments.
The Families Get Fit Festival, which seeks to educate and raise funds for the non-profit foundation, is one of three program areas currently being developed by TriROK. The others include an intervention program that aims to reduce childhood obesity, and an outreach and collaboration program that works with schools, shelters, community groups and other non-profits to educate and train families in sustainable healthy living practices.
“What we do is geared to families; we train families together to help them self identify as athletes,” says Bowling.
For example, Bowling said many kids today don’t know how to ride a bicycle. And furthermore, many parents lack the ability to teach their kids how to ride a bicycle - or cannot afford to buy one.
“Some ask, ‘Why are you taking sedentary families and having them do triathlons,'” says Bowling. Bowling’s cheerful and ready answer: “triathlons don’t depend on anything really but basic equipment that we provide with help from donations from Seaside Cycle of Manchester, Essex County Velo and 4 C’s - a local cycling club. As for the ‘Families Get Fit Festival,’” she adds, “it’s free.”
For more information about the TriROK 'Familes Get Fit Festival' or to register visit TriROK's website.