More and more children around the country are participating in sprint-distance triathlons.
When 11-year-old Benjamin Lausch competes in triathlons, his eye is on beating a boy from Pennsylvania named Daniel.
Daniel competes in a lot of the same races as Benjamin and is “very, very fast.” Benjamin beat him once and hopes that with a little more time and practice he might one day catch Daniel again.
Benjamin ran his first triathlon when he was 7 years old and has become fiercely competitive and hooked on the sport, which includes a run, swim and bike component.
“I like the running mostly,” said Benjamin, who lives in Mount Airy.
Triathlons were once limited to adult competitors but are becoming popular among the younger set as well. Children as young as 7 are participating in the events they watched their parents master.
“We have seen tremendous interest in the sport among youth,” said Linda Congedo, communications director for TriColumbia, the 30-year-old organization that organizes several triathlons in Maryland each year.
The number of youths who are members of USA Triathlon, the national governing body for the sport, has increased from 19,825 in 2007 to 62,345 last year. There were 311 sanctioned national youth events in 2007 and close to 1,000 last year. Older teenagers could always compete in adult competitions, while the youth events opened the sport to younger athletes.
Read more: Baltimoresun.com