MADISON, Wis. - Swimming, running and biking are things most children love to do, but a group of students at a far East Side middle school are training in those activities for an upcoming competition.
The training that's being done by students at Whitehorse Middle School is teaching them more about how to compete, rather than how to win.
"I realy am trying to push myself to do this," said student Rowen Spires.
"This is my first triathlon, and I really want to finish," said student Citrine Samra.
The enthusiastic group of students is tackling Saturday's Tri 4 Schools being held in Waunakee.
In learning the ins and outs of the event, coach Paul Stich is bring health and fitness into the lives of children at a young age.
"Helping them think about fitness, and it can be fun," said Stich. "I think I only have one person in the entire group that's ever done a triathlon, so they're all new."
"I know I'm not the best one on the whole team, but I know I can do better than I used to," said student Omar Fernandez.
The training is paying off for Fernandez. He said he is looking forward to spending time talking on the phone with his father in Mexico after he crosses the finish line.
"He's going to be waiting for my call, and even if I get last place for finishing it," Fernandez said.
Samra had a much different reason for why she was competing.
"I thought maybe if one Muslim was in a triathlon, maybe more Muslims would be," Samra said.
She said she wanted everyone to know that it is OK to be different.
In keeping with religious tradition, Samra said she will keep her body covered during the race.
Tri 4 Schools was started by a Madison woman in 2011. Saturday in Waunakee will be its second Kids Triathlon.Whitehorse Elementary School students train for triathlon video
Unlike other events that use race fees to cover costs, donations from businesses cover the bill.
The entry fees are then divied up and go back to schools to support healthy lifestyle programs, which truly allows everyone to win.