Wash Park looks into new kids programming

Triathlon event will give kids a new way to enjoy the park

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In an effort to extend summer programming for kids into the fall months, staff at the Washington Park Recreation Center are setting out to try a new event — a miniature triathlon.

While the event will be a condensed version of the real thing — a full Ironman Triathlon includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run — Glen Batista, recreation supervisor at Washington Park, hopes it will challenge kids and give them an interest in major race events.

“This is kind of the first time we’re branching out and seeing how to use the entire park,” said Batista, who described the park as a “phenomenal place” for runners and cyclists. “We have all the resources so let’s see what we can do.”

The rec center is still working with the city to finalize permitting. As of June 25, the triathlon is planned for October and will include swimming 150 meters in the rec center’s pool, a 1.75-mile bike ride and just under a mile run around Smith Lake, which is on the north side of Washington Park. The race will be for kids from 8 to 12 years old.

The parking lot in front of the rec center, 701 S. Franklin St., will be closed to cars, Batista said. Participants can then use the space to switch from the bicycle portion of the race to the running section.

For the last several years, city rec centers have been working with the My Denver program, Batista said. The card gives students free access to libraries and local museums, as well as the rec centers, which offers a place to go during summer months. The program is for children from 5-18, according to the city website.

At the Washington Park Recreation Center, programming for My Denver runs from noon to 4 p.m. This includes different activities with instructors. Batista added that staff hopes to grow the program and bring in more fall activities. Since My Denver already had running and biking programs, creating a triathlon seemed to be a natural fit.

If the event is successful, Batista would like to bring in more unning and biking organizations.

“It really is just a fledgling of an idea and we’re trying to see what it could become,” Batista said. “I think the opportunity to make this something for those kids is absolutely there.”

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