Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that for many of our young athletes, this may be their first time experiencing an athletic event. We’d like to provide you with some tips and tricks for making race day successful!

How does a triathlon work?

A triathlon consists of three events in the following order – swim, bike, run. There are various distances of triathlon, but all events consist of these three disciplines.

Between each event athletes pass through a transition area, which is used for your swim-to-bike transition (T1) and the bike-to-run transition (T2). In most events, the same transition area is used for both T1 and T2.

Within the transition area, participants have a space where they place their bike and other items that they will need in order to move on to the next event. More information on what you should have in your transition area space is included below.

I'd really like my child to participate, but they are nervous. What can I do?

Kids usually are more willing to try something new if they have a friend to do it with. Talk to other parents and get a group of your children to sign up – they will have more fun and be more relaxed on race day. As with anything, familiarity breeds comfort. Finding times to get out and practice in advance of race day is incredibly helpful.

If your child would like to compete but can’t swim, find a friend that knows how and have them do a relay instead!

What should I remember to bring for a triathlon?

The following is not a comprehensive list, but should give you all the basics you will need for a triathlon:

  • Swim suit, jammers or trunks for boys
  • Goggles and swim cap (optional)
  • Bike (road, hybrid, mountain, or even a balance bike will do) – training wheels are also allowed for this race!
  • Helmet (make sure it fits properly and is certified by the CPSC)
  • Closed-toed running shoes
  • Socks (optional, some kids wear their shoes without socks, but beware of blisters!)
  • A towel to dry yourself off with in the transition area; you can also use one to stand on so your feet will dry
  • Water bottle filled with water
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • A jacket (for inclement weather)
  • Dry clothes for after the race
  • A snack for just before the race (optional)
  • A small amount of cash on hand
  • Your phone or camera with lots of storage space for pictures!
  • Your race number – some people have race belts to attach their race number, but safety pins are provided at the race site

How far in advance should I get to the race? What do I do when I get there?

Our triathlons begin at 8:30am, starting with our long course.  We provide estimated start times for each distance as well. We suggest arriving about 45-60 minutes ahead of time to allow for body marking, registration/check-in (if you didn’t check in the night before the race) and ample time in the transition area. The Mud Run begins at 8am, and we recommend arriving 30 minutes prior to your wave’s start time, which is sent out before the race day.

Triathlons: Check out our handy flowchart below!  When you arrive and park for the race, the first thing you should do is pick up your race packet. This will include your race number, which you will need to wear on the run course. Next, your race number will be written in marker on your arm and leg (for safety reasons) by our expert body marking team! Next, proceed to the transition area and set up your bike and other items. Bike racks will be provided to help provide proper spacing and order, and we will have space available for other bikes (since they might not reach a traditional size bike rack). We label the bike racks with fruit names and images so the athletes can remember which rack they placed their bike in, but they are first come, first served, so get there early to get an ideal spot!

When this is complete, stretch, drink a bit of water, and relax! You may also attend our race day meeting, which takes place near the pool area. These meetings will give you an idea of the course and some hints for racing safely and successfully.

Flowchart image for website

What should I wear for a triathlon?

We recommend arriving to the race site with your swim suit on, and comfortable clothes over the top, as changing space is usually limited.  During the race, you should wear something you are comfortable swimming in, that would also work while you are biking and running. Usually, kids will wear a swim suit, and then pair it with shorts and a t-shirt or tank for biking and running.

You must wear something on the top half of your body for the triathlon for safety reasons (we want to avoid road rash if there are any falls).  A t-shirt or athletic shirt works well, as does a swimsuit. You may also wish to wear a hat to help provide shade on the run course.

Triathlons take place in all types of weather, so please stay tuned to our website for updates and the latest weather conditions! This should help you decide what is appropriate to wear on race day.

What should I eat on race morning? What about during the race?

It is very important to eat a good, but light, breakfast on race morning. Make sure you do not eat anything you are unfamiliar with on race day, as this might affect your stomach during the race. Most athletes eat some type of cereal or toast, light fruit, milk, juice, or an energy bar. Also remember to hydrate and drink water before the race!

You may wish to have a water bottle in the transition area filled with water. Some athletes find this helps them stay hydrated in between events. For this distance of race, you probably do not need to have food, but talk with your parents about what is appropriate and healthy for you.

What if I don't have a bike to use, or running shoes to wear, or need financial assistance?

 We will do our best to accommodate you.  If you need to purchase a helmet, the Kohl’s Safety Center at the American Family Children’s Hospital has them for $10! You can find out more about this great program by checking out their web page.

Scholarships are available for all Tri 4 Schools events if you qualify for free or reduced lunch at school, so please contact our Race Director at to learn more. We want everyone who wants to attend to be able to race!

My child is not a strong swimmer. Can they still compete?

Any child who is registered in our short course can be assisted in the pool by a water noodle.  If your child is registered in the medium or long course, they should be able to complete the distance without assistance.  We will also have lifeguards in the pool that can help temporarily assist children if needed. We cannot allow personal flotation devices per pool rules – items such as water wings, puddle jumpers, or inner tubes.  We do suggest that if possible, you work with your child to make sure they are comfortable swimming the distance in the pool in advance, create a relay team, or move to a shorter distance that your child will be able to complete successfully.

Can I run with my child during the Mud Runs?

Parents can register and pay to run with their kids in all three distances.  Please select one of the parent/child waves when you register online.

How do I know which wave to sign my child up for in the Mud Run?

The waves are used to stagger the start times of participants to make traffic on the course less chaotic.  Waves start five minutes apart.

Some schools that are participating in the Mud Runs as a class are picking a particular wave for all participants to choose when signing up, which is also completely fine.  If you have schedule constraints that day, you can also use that as a barometer for choosing your wave.

Didn’t find the answer to your question? Send us a message via our Contact Us page and we will post it here right away.