Students cross the finish line at Schools Triathlon Challenge

A RECORD number of students have crossed the finish line at the 2017 School Triathlon Challenge, held at Bellerive Beach earlier this month (December).

Organised with Diabetes Tasmania and the Pennicott Foundation, this year marked the 10th anniversary of the popular event, which saw 150 schools and more than 5000 students from across the state take up the challenge.

Due to the water conditions, the swim leg of the triathlon events were cancelled and replaced with an additional running leg.

Schools Triathlon Challenge organiser Tim Smith said he was proud of Tasmanian schools for encouraging participation in the event.

He said this year’s participation continued to be “outstanding.”

“It’s great to see how many schools and children are now stepping out of their comfort zone and taking up the challenge,” he said.

“The triathlon gives students an opportunity to enjoy the feeling of being physically active – it’s all about finding the right fit for the individual and hopefully, from there, they can take on other active pursuits.

“We are also proud to have two prominent Tasmanian partners for this year’s event who support our mission.

“Diabetes Tasmania and the Pennicott Foundation are actively working within the community to spread our message of healthy, active lifestyles for children.”

With student participation acting as the cornerstone of the event, students were encouraged to get involved despite their fitness levels and abilities, previous experience or preferred sport.

Along with setting themselves up for a future of fitness, participants also raised funds for Diabetes Tasmania, a partner of the event for the past five-years.

Diabetes Tasmania chief executive officer Caroline Wells said it was never too early to practice good habits of healthy eating and active lifestyles.

“We are always looking for ways to encourage young people to engage in healthy eating,” she said.

“By getting the message out there to children at such a crucial age, we hope we can help get them into good habits.

“We worked with Schools Triathlon Challenge to give healthy eating tips, information on how to prepare for the challenge and what to pack for the day, as well as providing some delicious and nutritious recipes.”

Rob Pennicott, from the Pennicott Foundation, said the Schools Triathlon Challenge was doing a great job of getting children active and that healthy eating messages were a vital part of helping students connect with an overall healthy lifestyle.

“Outside of competitive sport, Tasmania is well placed to offer Tasmanians an amazing range of physically active lifestyle choices right in their own backyards,” he said.

The Schools Triathlon Challenge also recently won a Tasmanian Community Achievement Award in the Betta Milk “Make it Betta” Health Achievement Award category.

Mr Smith said the award was great recognition that the event was valued by the community and contributed significantly to the future health outcomes of young Tasmanians.

For more information about the Schools Triathlon Challenge, visit www.schoolstriathlonchallenge.com.

Caption: More than 5000 students from across Tasmania put their physical skills to the test as part of the Schools Triathlon Challenge, held at Bellerive Beach in December. Pictured, event organiser Tim Smith.