21 years young – how Ironkidz came about
Twenty-one years ago, Lorraine Pilkington of Waipahihi School’s PTA committee had a fundraising idea – a small triathlon for school children to emulate the famous Ironman New Zealand event, which arrived in Taupo the previous year.
At the time the PTA was trying to raise money for a school hall and Lorraine came up with Ironkidz when she saw how many parents were taking their children to Tauranga for the Weet-bix Tryathlon.
“I said if we can have the Ironman here why can’t we have a kids’ event? And it all started from there — lots of sleepless nights and planning to make it work. It was very much about giving the kids an event in town to do and raise funds.”
That was in 2000 and 150 children between eight and 13 entered. Competitors swam along the lakefront, cycled laps of a Kaimanawa St/Roberts St/Rifle Range Rd/Heuheu St course and ran along Roberts St and Lake Tce, with event HQ on the Northcroft Reserve.
Mum of three Lorraine was the main Ironkidz organiser and says she learned an immense amount, from dealing with traffic management to designing T-shirts and medals and securing sponsorship and spot prizes. She delegated jobs to other PTA members and Wayne Reardon ran the event on the day, with parent volunteers. Lorraine was actively involved with Ironkidz for more than 10 years and stepped down after her youngest child left Waipahihi School.
Excerpt from article written by Laurilee McMichael for Taupo & Turangi Weekender.
Wairakei Estate Sponsorship
In 2012 Wairakei Estate became the naming rights sponsor for this event. The Wairakei Estate Ironkidz Triathlon is for school-age kids and it is all about participation. Coming first isn’t important, it is all about getting out there, having a go, achieving a personal best and having lots of fun along the way.
There are three events; the triathlon for 7-15 year olds, a Splash & Dash event for 5-7 year olds, and an elite section where more competitive level triathletes compete.
The triathlon requires competitors to complete a swim, followed by a bike ride, ending with a run. Competitors can enter individually – which means they swim, bike and run (in that order) – or as part of a team of three, with each team member completing one activity. Entrants are also able to compete as a team of two, with one of them having to compete in two of the three activities (swim, bike, run) and the other team member completing the remaining activity.
The Splash & Dash is a paddle in Lake Taupo and a short run along the lakefront. Children do not need to be able to swim and parents can accompany their child if they wish.
We love our lake, and want to look after it. Ours is an environmentally responsible event – we aim to minimise waste by recycling where we can – please use the bins provided.