Explore HMT Complex on July 26 as you swim, bike and run to the finish

by: TIMES PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Families are encouraged to complete a 50-yard swim, two-mile bike ride and a third-mile run together during the Family Triathlon on July 26 to kick off a day of fun at the Party in the Park.Grab your running shoes, swimming suit and favorite set of wheels — the eighth annual Family Triathlon is a fun, active event for the entire family.

A Party in the Park staple since 2007, the triathlon provides children, parents, grandparents and neighbors the opportunity to have fun together while completing a 50-yard swim, two-mile bike ride and a third-mile run along a trail through the woods at the Howard M. Terpenning Recreation Complex.

The non-competitive activity draws 300 family members and neighbors each year, who really get the opportunity to explore what the complex has to offer.

"Every year there are a number of people who are just amazed by all that is offered here," said Bob Wayt, communications director for the park district. "They may have been to the Athletic Center building, but had no idea of all the fields behind it — their jaws just drop when they take it all in."

The Family Triathlon is a non-timed event, so all participants will receive an event medal. Families are asked to submit one registration for each participant.

Parent participation is required for children ages 7 and younger, but those accompanying these children are not required to register, unless they would like a completion medal as well.

A participation meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 26.

"At the meeting, we walk everyone through what to expect so there are no surprises," said Sharon Hoffmeister, the park district's superintendent of aquatics and organizer of the triathlon. "Our goal is to make this fun for everyone. We will accommodate whatever the participants need to be successful.

"For the little ones that may mean wearing a life jacket, using a kickboard or climbing on dad's back for the swimming portion of the event, or riding a scooter, big wheel or in the back of a bike trailer for the bicycle portion."

The best part, Hoffmeister said, "We have great volunteers who cheer participants on throughout the event. It's all smiles and so much fun for everyone involved."

The event begins at 9 a.m. at the Aquatic Center and has a small participant fee to defray costs. The cost is $7 or $5.25 for seniors who live within the park district boundaries.

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