If you were out walking your dog on the streets of Cambridge on the morning of July 22, you might have been startled when current and former Patriots players whizzed by on their bikes while leading a pack of 600 kids for the largest-ever kid's triathlon in New England.
That Sunday, Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko and running back Eric Kettani were joined by alumni Paul Francisco and Max Lane to swim, bike and run in a uniquely designed kid-sized triathlon course, in partnership with Kid's Triathlon Inc. and as part of the Patriots and NFL PLAY 60 movement that encourages kids to exercise 60 minutes a day. Triathlon training programs specially designed for kids also took place in cooperation with YMCAs across the region.
In just its first year, The New England Kids Triathlon became the largest kid's triathlon ever held in the Northeast. With 600 kids and 1,500 spectators gathered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it was one of the 10 largest kids triathlons in the United States this year.
"This is a proactive effort that supports the goals of our NFL PLAY 60 program, and it encourages families to make positive decisions that will last a lifetime," said Josh Kraft, President of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation. "This triathlon is a fun, exciting and healthy experience for everyone involved."
Mesko, Kettani, Lane and Francisco were considered "Celebrity Big Kids" during the day's competition where they participating in the kid's course which measured a 100 meter swim, three mile ride and a half mile run. During the day they encouraged kids at the starting line and congratulated them when they crossed the finish line by awarding them a medal for participation. Patriots cheerleaders and Pat Patriot were also on hand to encourage the children throughout the course.
"Kids across New England were working hard to get ready to become triathletes, and we are proud to have played a role in helping them," commented Cyndee Goodinson-Lindsey, Health & Wellness Director at the Attleboro YMCA. "Everyone at the Y is honored to partner with the Patriots to show kids that being healthy and active can be fun."
The New England Kid's triathlon aims to introduce kids to the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle and the event was 100% staffed by volunteers. During 2012, more than $13,000 and 500 hours will be donated to 'healthy kid' initiatives in New England as part of the New England Kids Triathlon program.