Hundreds of pupils take part in largest games day

Children participating in the City of Edinburgh Triathlon Event. Picture:  Neil Hanna

Children participating in the City of Edinburgh Triathlon Event. Picture: Neil Hanna

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HUNDREDS of pupils have taken part in the Capital’s largest ever school sports event.

More than 1700 youngsters from 44 primary and secondary schools lapped up the opportunity to try their hand at a gruelling circuit of cycling, swimming and running during the Tri-umph Edinburgh Triathlon at the Forrester-St Augustine’s community sports hub.

Speaking after they crossed the finish line, exhausted but exhilarated pupils hailed yesterday’s triathlon as the perfect warm-up for this summer’s Commonwealth Games.

Bethany Leitch, 11, a P6 pupil at St Peter’s RC Primary, said: “It was awesome. The special thing about the event was doing all three sports. It’s made me want to be a lot more involved in sport because it’s fun and it wasn’t very competitive.”

Sean Wallis, 11, a P7 pupil at Pentland Primary, said: “I’m feeling good – a bit tired. The run was probably the hardest. I’ll probably remember the swimming the most – having to get out and get all the wet clothes off. Kids can see other people enjoying themselves and they’ll want to have a go.”

With triathlon set to be the opening event of this year’s Glasgow Games, organisers said Tri-umph would give participants a rare chance to try all three sports at once and predicted it would spark enthusiasm for physical activity.

Stephen Chambers, ten, a P6 pupil at Pentland Primary, added: “It was really fun. What’s special about this event is that most of my class is here. Every time an opportunity like this comes along you want to take it.”

City sports leaders said the event would provide a “foundation for kids to build upon”.

“These types of events are really important, it gives a platform for the children to participate in a growing sport,” said Gavin Macrae, Edinburgh Leisure athletics development officer. “Most of these children have had the opportunity to do some running and swimming, or cycling, within the school, but this is the first time we’ve had the opportunity to put the three together.”

Cameron Reid, active schools co-ordinator for the St Thomas of Aquin’s High cluster, said: “There are only maybe a handful of kids at this age that will have taken part in a triathlon so it’s a good way of introducing them to something new. The weather hasn’t been great but the kids don’t care.”

City leaders predicted the event would transform children’s long-term attitude to sport.

Councillor Cathy Fullerton, deputy education leader, said: “Hopefully many of the children will be inspired to take up some of the sports outside school.”