The kids ‘Tri’ it and like it

The stars were out on Saturday.

Saturday morning, that is.

Eden Andrulatis, 8, hits the finish line at the Santa Barbara Kids Triathlon. (Photo by Randy Weiss)

Nearly 150 of the youngest and brightest descended on the Dos Pueblos High sports complex before 8 a.m. for the 2011 Santa Barbara Kids Triathlon.

And on a crystal-clear, sun-drenched day, they reached for the sky in a big way.

Swim. Bike. Run.

For those in the Juniors Division (ages 7-10), the participants did a 100-meter swim in the DP pool, biked 5 kilometers and ran 1k.

The Seniors (ages 11-15) did a 200-meter swim 10k bike and 2k run.

For many, it was their first official triathlon experience.

In preparation, about 30 participants even attended this week’s DP Triathlon Camp.


“It’s all about these amazing kids. And it’s also about giving back to our community,” said Marcella Young, SB Kids Triathlon Director. “Race proceeds benefit Special Olympics of Santa Barbara. Donations are still coming in. By the time we’re done, we hope to raise $10,000.”

“What a truly wonderful day for these triathletes, our community and for Special Olympics. Wow!” exclaimed Sara Spataro, Executive Director of Special Olympics of Santa Barbara.

Sparato was joined by a dozen Special Olympians to show their active support and gratitude.

“And these Special Olympians are amazing, too,” Young added. “In addition to being here today and on their own time earlier this week, they helped us pack the goody bags for all the participants.”

After a year off, the SBKT has seemingly found a home at DP.

The pool’s new bleachers were full with more than 250 parents, families and adoring fans; the bike route went through Goleta’s safe, sleepy neighborhoods, and the finish line … well, there’s no place better to finish than on the DP track.

Megan Cotich was there helping at the Finish Line. Along with other volunteers from Momentum-4-Life, a local training group, they collected race-bib tags and presented medals to all the finishers.

“It’s the absolute best place to witness that magical look of exhilaration and victory on every one of the kids’ faces,” said Cotich.

Founding sponsors and local pediatric dentists, Dr. Ruby and Dr. Rochon followed all the action.


Triathlon director Marcella Young, left, and local dentists and title sponsors Drs. Robert Ruby and Yvonne Rochon.

“This is spectacular! These kids are so impressive,” Dr. Ruby said.

There were four race categories for both boys and girls: ages 7-8; 9-10; 11-12 and 13-15.

Assisting in the award presentation for the top three places in each division was Amy Dodson, the first female to run the Boston Marathon as a leg amputee.

“It’s great to come out and see these young triathletes. It’s very enlightening and inspiring,” said Dodson, who provides no shortage of inspiration herself.

By 10:30 a.m., it was all done.

The world’s newest triathletes were quickly whisked away by their families, savoring that sweet taste of success, knowing their stars were, indeed, shining very bright on this very special sunny Saturday.

Barry Punzal contributed to this story and edited the video.


Special Olympian Christina Schackelford, center, hangs out with her family and friends.