Fifth-grader shares triathlon successes |

Fifth-grader shares triathlon successes

Teri Vance

A routine summer activity last year has turned into a passion for 11-year-old Konnor Van Worth.

A member of the Tiger Sharks swim team, Konnor joined his teammates in participating in the annual Capital City Kids Triathlon last July.

“It was really fun,” he said. “I like doing things that are a challenge.”

So he continued to challenge himself. After completing the initial recreational triathlon of swimming 100 meters, biking 1.3 miles and running .4 miles, he went on to compete in three more triathlons in California. His longest race was 225 meters of swimming, 5 miles biking and 1 mile running. He completed that in 31 minutes.

This year, he’s signed up to compete in 10 triathlons, with an invitation to the qualifying race for the Iron Man for Kids.

Konnor was the guest speaker Thursday for Fremont Elementary School’s outdoor club made up of fourth- and fifth-graders.

He shared with club members his training tips of swimming and biking two to three times a week, biking two to three times and doing all three together once.

He told them he eats sweets only in moderation, choosing vegetables twice a day and fruit up to three times a day.

“The harder the package is to open, the worse it probably is for you,” he passed along from a magazine he’d read.

Along with the wet suit, running shoes and bike he listed under the equipment he needed, he also added a “determined and focused mind.”

Students asked him questions about how he managed to complete the races without tiring out.

“One thing is breathing deeply,” he explained. “When your breath is shallow, that’s when you get cramps.”

And when he has no more energy left, he still has a strategy.

“I think about the person in front of me and trying to pass them,” he said. “I use it as fuel.”

Outdoor club adviser Mary Berge said she asked Konnor to speak to the club as an example.

“I want them to see they can do these kinds of things,” she said. “We live in an area that has every outdoor activity there is. I want them outside being healthy, and they can do these things now. They don’t have to wait until they’re older.”

Still, Ellen Cherpeski, 10, wasn’t sure she was ready for anything quite so extreme.

“He has to train quite a bit,” she said. “I don’t think I would do that kind of stuff.”