COMO Adapted Triathlon

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COLUMBIA - Athletes ages 6 to 18 years old competed in a multi-stage competition hosted by the MU Physical Therapy Program on Saturday called the COMO Adapted Triathlon.

The triathlon is a "program for children with disabilities giving them the opportunity to participate in a triathlon adapted to their needs" according to the program's Facebook page.

The competition was a series of three sequential events: swimming, cycling and running. The swimming portion took place inside the Mizzou Rec, and the cycling and running took place on the track outside. Athletes were given the opportunity to use specialty bicycles made for their abilities, such as pedaling with their arms or sitting in a chair, or ride their own.

The event's co-director, Mariah Cairer, said this is only the event’s second year. 

Kristin Duchmann, a parent of an athlete, said that her son worked really hard, and that her daughter enjoyed cheering on her older brother.

Athlete Harsha Sunder said his favorite event was the biking, but also gave the swimming a thumb’s up.

Each athlete had an assigned “buddy” throughout the competition for support.

“All the buddies that are with the kids keep track of their times so they can see if they've improved from last year, they can keep it and see if they improve next year,” said Cairer.

Cairer said about 45 athletes signed up for the 2018 COMO Adapted Triathlon, which is about 15 more participants than last year.

“Our goal is to keep getting bigger so that more and more kiddos can compete each year,” said Cairer.

Every athlete received a gold medal and a t-shirt for participating. All athletes also had the opportunity to break the yellow tape at the finish line.