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FAQs - Important Race Day Information

What is a kids triathlon?

Triathlon is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world, and kids triathlons are a vital part of this trend. There is no better way for any child to experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle focused on daily exercise and good nutrition.

Every triathlon consists of 4 components: swimming, biking, running and transitions. At the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon, kids will only race against other kids in their same age group. We will utilize a time trial start in a pool meaning each racer will enter the pool one at a time. As they complete their swim, they will enter the transition area to begin the bike portion of the race. After completing their ride, they will re-enter transition, drop-off their bike and exit onto the run course. The run is the final portion of the race.

Computerized timing chips are used to track each participant throughout each part of the race. Please see the questions below for the actual race distances for each of the age groups.

What ages are eligible to compete?

As an event that is sanctioned by USATriathlon, we are required to follow their rules.  One of these rules governs age. This means our event is open to kids ages 6 to 15. However, it is not quite that simple. USAT does not go by the age of the athlete on race day. Instead, your triathlon age is your age as of 12/31 of the current year.

For our 2018 event, this means that all kids will race at their age as of 12/31/18. For example, if your child was born during June 2009, they will be 8 on race day; however, they will actually be a 9-year-old triathlete for all of 2018.

This is not really that big of a deal once you understand it. However, it does impact a few different groups of kids.:

First, all kids born in 2012 are eligible to participate (assuming they can swim 100 yards safely; bike 3 miles without training wheels; and run). For example, we will have many kids who are actually 5 on race day.  However, they are 6-year-old triathletes because they will turn 6 before the end of the year.

Second, kids born in 2002 are not eligible to participate. There will be some kids who are 15 on race day, but they will turn 16 before the end of 2018. As a result, they are officially 16-year-old triathletes, and they are no longer able to participate in kids triathlons.

Finally, kids who were born in 2007 need to pay close attention to the age rule for 2018. While the majority of these kids will be 10 years old on race day, they will all be 11 years old on 12/31/18.  This makes them 11- year-old triathletes for the entire season, and it means they are racing in the Senior Division (and with longer race distances).  We do make exceptions for first-time triathletes who want to start with the shorter distances, but we need to coordinate this in advance. Please contact our Event Director or Race Director to discuss this option.

How old is my child?

Your triathlon age is different than your actual age.  Please read the details above to fully understand this unique situation. We want to do everything possible to avoid confusion on race weekend.

What are the actual race distances?

For Juniors ages 6-10: Swim is 100 yards, Bike is 3 miles, and the Run is 1/2 mile
For Seniors ages 11-15: Swim is 200 yards, Bike is 6 miles, and the run is 1 mile

Please see the question above regarding the difference between “race day” age and “triathlon” age as it could affect the distances your child is racing.  This is especially important for kids born in 2007.

How many kids will be participating in the race?

The number of participants in each age group may vary, but total participation of more than 3,000 will make the Houston Texans Kids Triathlon THE LARGEST kids triathlon in the U.S.A.

Can I really complete a triathlon?

Race distances are set by the USAT and designed to be challenging, yet achievable – even for first-timers. The word triathlon can scare people into thinking it is something they could never do. Plain and simple, if your child can swim 4 laps in a pool and ride their bike for 20 minutes without stopping, they can successfully complete a kids triathlon. If they cannot do this now, there still may be time to set some goals and to get ready to race.

Who is putting on the race?

The Houston Texans and Texas Children’s Hospital, in partnership with the nonprofit organization Kids Triathlon, Inc., have partnered to bring you the 2018 Houston Texans Kids Triathlon presented by Texas Children’s Hospital in conjunction with the Strong Kids Program of the YMCA. Kids Triathlon, Inc. is the Race Director and they will be responsible for all race day activities - including course set-up, timing and overall coordination.

When can I pick up my race number and packet?

All participants are being asked to attend our Pre-Race Packet Pick-Up and Bike Drop-Off Session on the day before they race. For the Juniors (ages 6 to 10), this session will be held from 3:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Friday, April 20, 2018. For the Seniors (ages 11 to 15), this session will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2018 from 12:00 pm to 3:30pm. These are the only scheduled times for packet and race number pick-up, though we will try to accommodate special exceptions. The address of the facility is:

NRG Stadium
Two NRG Park
Houston, TX 77054

*****PLEASE NOTE: There will be NO packet pick-up or registration on race day

During the session, there will be numerous activities for the kids and everyone will have the opportunity to attend Course Talks which provide important race day information.

What do I need to bring on raceday?

It starts with a swim suit. We will provide a color-coded swim cap, and many kids wear goggles (which you need to provide). Also, you will need a bike and a good, safe helmet (required). Finally, a brightly colored towel to mark your spot in transition and to wipe your feet and a pair of running shoes are important. Many of the kids complete the entire race in their swim suits (though a t-shirt is not a bad idea, as it provides a good place to pin your race number and helps protect you from the sun).

Some of the optional equipment (helpful, but not required) that you will see includes: a race belt (used to hold your race number - if you do not want to wear a t-shirt); water bottle (kept in the transition area); elastic shoe laces (save time if you do not have to tie); hat or visor; sun screen; and post-race clothes / shoes (that are not hot & sweaty).

What should I eat the night before the race?

While every person is different, most experts do NOT suggest a heavy meal the night before a race. Every racer will need a lot of energy, so a traditional pasta dinner or other meal with lots of carbohydrates and protein is quite common. Of course, you know your body and normal eating habits better than anyone. It is always safe to follow those. The only thing almost everyone agrees on...it is NOT a good time to try a new food for the first time.

What should I eat for breakfast on Race Day?

Again, it is best to listen to your body and to do what feels right. It also depends on what time you get up and what time you are racing. The kids who start racing at 7:30 a.m. should eat something light that is a good source of carbohydrates two hours before the start of your race. If you are racing later in the day, it is easier to eat a normal breakfast early in the morning because your body will have more time to digest the food. One thing you do NOT want to do is skip breakfast on race day. You will need all the energy you can get to complete the race.

Do you have a question that wasn't addressed on this page? Please email Chris Reese at chris.kidstriathlon@gmail.com.