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Ironman: Keiki Dip n Dash, Parade of Nations

Photography by Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

Two fan favorites helped kick off Ironman week Tuesday in Kona.

First, several hundreds youngsters joined in the fourth annual Keiki Dip n Dash, a biathlon for youngsters who have caught triathlon fever.

The ‘dip’ included a swim in Kailua Bay, with keiki lining up along the shore at the same starting line that more than 2,000 triathletes will use Saturday.

The ‘dash’ leg was a quick sprint along Alii Drive and return to the pier for a medal and some snacks.

They could choose from two options: the short course, a 50-yard swim and 0.25-mile run or the long course, a 150-yard swim and 0.9-mile run.

On hand to congratulate the young athletes at the finish line were Paula Newby-Fraser, Michellie Jones and Greg Welch.

Welch, a notorious smart alec, met his match at the finish line, when he interviewed one young finisher, a 4-year-old girl.

Welch asked her: “How was that? Was it fun?”

She answered: “Yes.”

Welch: “What was your favorite part?”

Girl: “Swimming.”

Welch: “Did you like the run part, too?”

Girl: “Yes.”

Welch: “Can you say more than two words?”

Girl (without missing a beat: “More than two words.”

It was quite possibly the first time Welch has ever been rendered speechless. But it didn’t last long as the 1994 world champion welcomed home each of the young athletes.

The event is organized by Ironkids, which strives “to inspire and motivate youth through the sport to lead an active, positive and healthy lifestyle.”

Next up along Alii Drive was the Parade of Nations, featuring athletes from each of the 53 countries represented at this year’s world championship.

Hundreds of athletes and their supporters march the route at sunset, passing out candy and other goodies along the way.

Cruising along in convertibles were former world champions Natascha Badmann and Chrissie Wellington, and Hines Ward, former NFL star and Dancing With the Stars champion.

Ironman designates ‘I am True’ anti-doping day


Ironman is once again promoting anti-doping and raising awareness for clean sport through activities and testing in conjunction with the GoPro Ironman World Championship triathlon.

Tuesday, Oct. 8, has been designated as the ‘I AM TRUE’ day. The Ironman Anti-doping Program will highlight the ‘I AM TRUE’ campaign through the launch of its @IMAntiDoping Twitter and Facebook pages, both of which will be a key component of expanded education, outreach and information sharing.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and Ironman are teaming up at the Ironman Village Expo where outreach activities will target the nearly 2,000 professional and age group athletes competing in
the 2013 GoPro Ironman World Championship.

Ironman also welcomes the Chief Executive Officer of South African Institute for Drug Free Sport, Khalid Galant, as part of Ironman’s outreach team this year.

“We believe strongly in clean sport and are committed to being a leader in this area,” said Andrew Messick, Chief Executive Officer of Ironman. “We are continuously working together with various anti-doping agencies, including WADA, to further ensure the integrity of Ironman and the sport of triathlon as a whole. Our World Championship is a fantastic platform to highlight this commitment and help influence future generations in a positive way.”

In addition, the outreach team shared its anti-doping message with the next generation of triathletes at the Keiki Dip n Dash event. The young athletes will receive anti-doping information and promotional materials, which are designed to educate them on how to make the right decisions later in their triathlon careers.

“WADA thrives on strong collaborations with its partners to help communicate anti-doping and promote the values of clean sport,” said WADA President John Fahey. “Ironman and its ‘I AM TRUE’ partnership is a good example of a partner sharing the anti-doping message with not just current athletes, but those from future generations, too. I have no doubt this initiative will once again prove successful in educating and informing those who believe in fair play.”

Another important aspect of the Ironman Anti-Doping Program’s work in Kona is the execution of in- and out-of-competition testing, which includes the collection and analysis of blood and urine samples as part of the Ironman and WADA Code compliant anti-doping program.

All athletes participating in the GoPro Ironman World Championship, and all other Ironman events throughout the year, are subject to testing under the Ironman Anti-Doping rules.

Ironman also partners with key National Anti-Doping Programs around the world to coordinate testing on some of the sport’s top professional and age group athletes.

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