By Amanda Hatfield Anderson
BREVARD -- The day before adults take on one of the Space Coast's most challenging sporting events, children from throughout the county will have an opportunity to participate in the Pineapple Kidz Triathlon, Duathlon and Relay on Saturday, May 31 in Melbourne Beach.
Registration is currently open for athletes ages 4 to 16, and is available online via www.IMAthlete.com. There will be no day-of-race registration.
Deadline for registration is Thursday, May 29.
Athletes will be able to pick up their race packets on Friday, May 30 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Fiat of Melbourne, located at 300 E. Nasa Blvd., where they will also receive pizza and a drink.
The triathlon is open for children ages 11 through 16, and costs $40 per athlete or $60 per relay team.
The duathlon is open to youth athletes ages 4 through 14, and costs $35 per athlete.
The Pineapple Kidz Triathlon, Duathlon and Relay is sanctioned by the USAT.
"The Pineapple Kidz Triathlon, Duathlon and Relay was created as part of the Sunrise Series youth multi-sport race series," said Vanessa Ziade, race director. "The intention behind creating the series was to create local racing opportunities for youth athletes, who belong to our youth triathlon training club, and to promote the growing sport of youth triathlon among the general population of kids in our community and beyond, who may be interested in trying out a new sport."
The Pineapple Kidz triathlon precedes the immensely popular Pineapple Man Triathlon.
In its first year in 2013, Ms. Ziade said that 70 kids participated, and that race officials are expected 150 youth athletes to participate in next weekend's event.
Those, who participate in the triathlon, will kick off the day of competitive fun, starting with a swim, which consists of a 150 yard lifeguarded, open-water swim.
Following the swim, athletes will run down the dock at the Melbourne Beach Pier to transition to a cycle and run loop, along Riverside Drive, through Melbourne Beach. The race will finish at the end of Ocean Avenue.
Relay teams, which consists of two or three athletes, will also participate in the triathlon.
The duathlon, which is open for children ages 4 through 14, consists of a 200-meter run and a cycle through Riverside Drive in Melbourne Beach.
Ms. Ziade said that following the triathlon and duathlon, there will be a free TIDBITS dash for children ages 6 and younger.
All children, who participate in the TIDBITS dash, will receive a finisher ribbon, gift card from Jersey Mike's Subs, a Long Dogger's free meal card and a Frisbee.
There will also be a one-mile family race for folks of all ages, which costs $10 per person. The first male and female will receive a gift basket from Jersey Mike's Subs.
"One hundred percent of the proceeds from the one-mile family race will be donated to the Brevard County Lifeguard Association," Ms. Ziade said.
With healthy, competitive fun the main focus of the event, Ms. Ziade and her team hope that many people attend this year's Pineapple Kidz event.
"Most kids naturally like to swim, ride their bikes and run. Youth triathlons, duathlons and aquathons are a great way for kids to do what they love, while they have fun learning all about a new and exciting sport," Ms. Ziade said. "There are no sidelines and everyone gets to participate."
The Pineapple Kidz Triathlon, Duathlon and Relay is Saturday, May 31 at Ryckman Park in Melbourne Beach.
Transition opens at 6 a.m., with the race beginning at 8 a.m.
For more information about the Pineapple Kidz Triathlon, Duathlon and Relay, visit www.IMAthlete.com, and type "Pineapple Kidz" in the search box.