SUMMERVILLE - Local youth have a rare opportunity to train for a triathlon, starting this week.

The Summerville Family YMCA started a camp this week to prepare youngsters, ages 7 to 14, for the sixth annual YMCA Youth Triathlon on August 16 at The Ponds Farmhouse.

The training programs will be 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays from now until July 31 at the Oakbrook YMCA, located at 900 Crosscreek Drive in Summerville. The fees are $75 for YMCA members and $100 for nonmembers. Those fees includes the registration for the triathlon.

' There are no requirements to join training program and the registration is still open," says Ashley Webb, marketing director for the YMCA. "They (youth participants) will be instructed by seasoned triathletes in the Summerville area and will have the opportunity to practicing and learn new techniques in swimming, biking and running."

Meanwhile, there also will be informal practice runs of the triathlon 8-11 a.m. July 19 and Aug. 2 for parents and children to see the course and ask questions.

The triathlon began in 2009 with a brainstorm from Dr. Hal Hatchett, a resident of The Ponds, an avid triathlete and Summerville podiatrist.

Hatchett approached the YMCA to coordinate the event and since its first appearance, the YMCA Youth Triathlon has repeatedly been a success for children and families in the Summerville community.

"Each parent and family member that I've spoken to says that the triathlon is an amazing success-each year we have over 200 children participate," says Hatchett. "They were so proud of their children. Not many kids can say 'I finished a triathlon'"

.Last year, about 230 children participated in the swim, bike, and run event.

This year's event will kick off at 7:30 a.m. Aug. 16 with the swimming portion, which will take place in The Ponds community pool.

The older age group, ages 11-14, will swim four lengths of the pool and the younger age group, ages 7-10,, will swim two lengths of the pool. The participants will enter the water one at a time, at intervals of 10-15 seconds.

After finishing the swimming portion, participants will exit the pool to the transition area, located at The Ponds Farmhouse. There they will don their bike helmets, shirts, and shoes and they will begin the biking stage of the event.

The 11-14 year olds will complete two 2.5 mile laps throughout The Ponds community and the 7-10 year olds will complete one 2.5 lap. The biking leg of the event finishes at The Ponds Farmhouse.

The third and final leg of the event is the running portion. The 11-14 year olds will run one mile on a trail throughout The Ponds nature conservancy, and the younger age group will run mile. All runners will finish at The Ponds Farmhouse.

WCBD-TV anchor Carolyn Murray, an avid runner herself, will be the Master of Ceremonies, will give each participant a medal once they cross the finish line and also announce awards.

The early registration fee is $25. After July 12, the late fee is $35. All proceeds benefit the Summerville Family YMCA Annual Support Campaign. Packet pick up will be 5-7 p.m. Aug. 15 at the YMCA at The Ponds.

http://www.summervilleymca.org/youthtriathlon/