Portland couple create event to introduce kids to multisport racing

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PORTLAND — As active triathletes, Tom and Amy Landry felt there were not enough multisport racing opportunities for youth, especially younger children.

So, they created one.

Called the Portland Kids Duathlon, the event will be held 8-11 a.m. July 15 on the East End. Online registration is open for two age categories, 5- to 8-year-olds and 8- to 12-year-olds.

The fee is $40 plus a $3.50 sign-up charge. Pre-registration ends July 14.

Participants in both age groups will run and ride bicycles along the Bayside Trail, starting and ending at CycleMania, one of the primary sponsors of the new event.

All proceeds from the duathlon will benefit the Portland Education Foundation and anyone who wants to support the young racers or the work of the foundation can make a direct donation online.

Amy Landry said there would be some limited opportunity for same-day registration, but encouraged parents to sign their kids up in advance of race day.

“The run, bike, run format of a duathlon is fun and approachable (and) a great race for non-swimmers,” Landry said. “First and foremost we want kids to have fun.”

As multisport enthusiasts, “we want to introduce (kids) to the sports we love in a fun, safe and non-competitive way,” she added. “While we call it a race, we will not be handing out awards. Every kid will finish with a medal around their neck and, we hope, a heart full of pride and confidence.”

The younger group will bike 1 mile out and back and take part in a 1/3-mile run. The older kids will bike 3 miles and take part in a 0.8-mile run.

The Landrys own Benchmark Residential & Investment Real Estate, which is the other primary sponsor of the event.

Amy Landry said the couple created the kids’ duathlon after their daughter continually asked them to set up much shorter, neighborhood race courses for her to enjoy.

“My young daughter has grown up watching us train, coming along for runs in the stroller and cheering from the sidelines at races,” Landry said. “Too young to race, she often asked us to set up special multisport race courses just for her.”

Landry also said her company has always been committed to giving back to the community and donating 10 percent of its profits to charity. “(Since) we already host a charity event in the fall,” she said, “we wanted to add another one.”

That’s when the couple decided to start the duathlon, which allows “kids to raise money for a kid’s charity,” while giving them a chance “to participate in a fun, multisport race,” she said.

All participants must have their own bikes and bike helmets. Landry also said that while training wheels would be allowed for the short course, all participants “should be comfortable biking on their own and (be) able to navigate turns safely.”

She said for the older kids, “there are a few hills on the course and bikes will be going both ways, so these kids should be comfortable on hills and (be) able to stay to one side of the trail.”

Landry said all bikes would be tested before the event to ensure that they’re in working order, particularly the brakes, and anyone with a deficient bike would not be able to participate.

While the goal of the event is to introduce the kids taking part to multisport racing, Landry said she hopes bystanders get something out of it.

“I want them to be inspired to get (their own) kids involved in sports and even be active themselves,” she said. “I want them to see a group of kids having fun, learning a new sport, and building strength and confidence that they’ll carry with them long after the race.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Amy Landry said she and her husband, Tom, are both triathletes and their daughter has often accompanied them on training runs and to events. Now they’ve created a new event designed to introduce Portland-area kids to multisport racing.