Swimmers begin the competition on beautiful Kalapaki Beach, Kauai.

Tens of thousands elite athletes compete for a coveted position in Hawaii’s Ford Ironman World Championship every year, only 1800 will qualify. Hawaii is certainly a destination that draws all kinds of visitors. If you are not one of the elite athletes to qualify for the pinnacle of triathlons in Kona, and you want healthy activity on Hawaii, there are plenty of options.

On March 12 and 13, Kauai hosted the first 2011 International Garden Isle Tri Fest. A weekend designed to promote healthy living for the whole family the races included a 5k fun run/walk, 10k run, a paddleboard challenge, kids, youth and junior triathlons, a sprint duathlon, a sprint triathlon and an Olympic triathlon.

Kauai Marriott Resort hosted the competition for hundreds of international travelers. Runners and bikers traversed the shaded course along the Kauai Lagoons Golf Course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Fronting the Marriott is Kalapaki Beach in Nawiliwili Bay, and the site of the paddleboard and swim competitions.

Competitors, ages 7 to 78, came from all over the globe to celebrate fitness and family amoung Kauai’s stunning beauty. “We had a couple from Canada who were 78 and finished the 10k,” says event founder Joe Williams who competed in the sprint duathlon relay team.

Broc Anakalea does triathlons because he loves the exercise. Photo: Dan Lane.

Kauai has two additional triathlons that provide triathletes and athletic families with opportunities for healthy fun while benefiting Kauai children’s programs. On April 10, folks will compete at TriKauai which includes a sprint triathlon and 5k fun run/walk. Tri Kauai donates a portion of the proceeds to the non-profit organization Kauai Kids on Bikes.

“I took my two kids to TriKauai and they did a full, relay adult trial,” says Broc Anakalea who took second place in Tri Fest’s Olympic triathlon. “It was amazing!”

“I will do the Olympic distance on April 30 for Kauai Loves You,” says Casey McGraw who placed 6th in Tri Fest’s sprint triathlon. Kauai Loves You is a fundraiser for YMCA’s Swim Kauai Aquatics program.

“It feels so good to win. It’s my first Olympic distance and first win ever!” says Joseph Kali who won first place in Tri Fest’s Olympic triathlon. “Try it, it’s addicting and you’re easily hooked.”.


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