What's better than getting outside and getting active? The 2014 REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon is fast approaching, and is aimed at getting kids to be more active.

Connor Junkins, who participated in the age 11-12 division of the REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon a year ago, gets sprayed by water cannons as he makes his way to the finish line. Photo Courtesy of Dave Allen Graphics

The youth triathlon is to be held on Sunday, September 7th at the University of Maine at Presque Isle. Participants between the ages of 7 and 10 will swim 50 yards, bike 2 miles, and run one-half mile. Participants between the ages of 11 and 14 will swim 100 yards, bike 2.5 miles, and run 1 mile.

“REDY” is not, in fact, a misspelling but the name of the well-known mascot of Let’s Go 5-2-1-0, a nationally recognized youth obesity prevention program that has partners throughout Maine. The popular figure will be present at the event to encourage the participating youth to stay active, eat a healthy diet, and avoid spending too much time in front of the television. Event organizers named the triathlon after the well-known mascot because he embodies what the triathlon is all about, which is providing kids with an opportunity to get active in a fun, safe, and supportive environment.

The University of Maine at Presque Isle will host the event, providing participants with an opportunity to swim in the Gentile Hall pool, as well as run and bike through much of the scenic campus. University officials are looking forward to welcoming triathletes, their families, and volunteers to campus.

The event supports the principles of obesity prevention developed by Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0. A 2010 study commissioned by EMHS, MaineGeneral Health, and MaineHealth found that Aroostook County has the highest percentage of overweight high school students in the state. The goal of Let’s Go! is to reduce the rate of childhood obesity by encouraging children to eat more fruits and vegetables, limit time spent in front of a television or computer, increase physical activity, and eliminate sugary drinks. The local effort is headed up by Healthy Aroostook and EMHS in collaboration with other community partners including TAMC, schools, workplaces, and others.

For more information, to volunteer or to register a child for the 2014 REDY…Set…Let’s Go! Youth Triathlon, go to www.redyyouthtriathlon.org.