Two-time Penticton Challenge champ Jeff Symonds said he draws inspiration from those who will be the future of triathlon.
“It’s pretty awesome,” said Symonds, who was at Peach Orchard Park in Summerland last week working with Tripower Triathlon Club members.
“Kids just have that pure joy for the sport and for being active. It’s just a feeling that’s contagious.”
However, the inspiration is reciprocal.
“It’s really awesome,” said Tamatea Westby, who was also motivated by the speech of Jenn Annett, who spoke to the group on Aug. 27 after finishing third in the women’s pro field for Challenge Penticton.
“He’s really nice.”
Westby questioned Symonds while also learning about fitness and technique.
Westby was one in a group of kids running alongside Symonds as he crossed the finish line for Challenge Penticton.
Haley Berrisford, who was the second finisher in the 14-15 age group of Challenge Penticton Kids of Steel triathlon, during the Challenge weekend, said Symonds’ knowledge is valuable.
“He brings a lot to the table,” said Berrisford.
Symonds likes making a connection with the young athletes, who used last week’s camp to get ready for the Summerland Orca Kids of Steel race held on Sunday.
Symonds said it’s neat to see them grow from each session. He has watched the improvements in their technical skill, as well as their leadership and maturity.
He also sees their passion for the sport that pushes them to have fun and work hard. He answered questions and offered advice to do things better as well as giving words of encouragement.
“Another thing that I like is helping them tackle some of their fears,” he said, which could range from doing the sport, going fast or even swimming over seaweed.
“It’s good to kind of pass on what I’ve learned and help them get over those fears. It’s something that goes beyond swimming, biking and running.”
Symonds said he loves seeing their “boundless energy.”
To learn more about the Tripower Triathlon Club, visit www.tripowertriclub.com.