Age isn't a limit for young triathletes

Matt DeYoung • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:41 AM

When he was 7, he ran a 10K.

So competing in Saturday's Spring Lake Youth Triathlon is no big deal for the 10-year-old Losee. He’s run a few already.

It is a big deal, however, for his parents, Todd and Diane.

"It's much easier for me to race than it is to watch him," said Todd Losee, himself an accomplished athlete who has run several Ironman events. "It's a rush for me to watch him do this stuff. It's great to see him out doing it, not sitting there playing a game or anything.

"To say I'm proud is an understatement."

To see someone so young being so active is impressive to many people, but Kevin Losee doesn't know any better. Both of his parents are runners, and he picked up the sport naturally.

"I've done a lot of tri's," he said. "I did one down in Florida, when my dad was doing the Ironman, and then I've done this one 1-2 times. It's a lot of fun.

"When I was 3, I started running. I really wanted to do a 5K when I was 2, and I finally did one when I was 3. Then, when I was 7, I really wanted to do a 10K, so I did the Old Fashioned Days run, and it was a lot of fun. And we did the Fifth Third run.

"I think I did my first triathlon when I was 6."

Todd Losee said his son's first 5K was in Boston.

"We were in Boston for the marathon, and they have the Freedom Run the day before," Todd Losee said. "Diane decided to sign him up, and she'd run right with him. It went right by our hotel at the 1-mile mark, so I said, 'I'll just wait outside the hotel, and if he's done, I'll grab him.’ He came by and he was high-fiving everyone along the way.

"When he did the 10K, it poured buckets. He's a trooper with that kind of stuff."

The Losees have been very careful never to force the sport of running on their kids.

"It's his choice," Todd said. "It's really what he wants to do. I don't push him to do it.

"The thing is, he doesn't know any better. He just thinks everybody goes out and runs. He probably thinks everyone runs Ironmans. The 5K, the 10K, he doesn't understand why it's a big deal.

“It's a lifestyle, and it gets him outside, gets him active. The big thing for us is, when you sign up, you're going to do it. If he doesn't like it, fine, but if he signs up, he's going to go out there and do it."

While he likes running and biking, swimming is actually Kevin's favorite discipline. He competes on the USA Lightning Swim Team, in addition to playing baseball, soccer and tennis. He's also a member of a running club that runs the cross country trails at Spring Lake High School.

"I've liked running my whole life," said Losee, who will be a fifth grader at Spring Lake Intermediate School this fall. "I just started swimming a few years ago, and I just like cruising around the neighborhood on my bike."


Soon-to-be White Pines Middle School fifth-grader Kathryn Ackerman also picked up the desire to compete in triathlons from her family. Her father, John, and her aunt and uncle have competed in the athletic test, and she’s followed suit twice.

“I’ve done two in Grand Haven and this will be my first in Spring Lake,” said Ackerman, 10.

Last year at the Grand Haven Kids Triathlon, she finished 14th overall, and second in her Female 8-9 age group.

The sport should come naturally: Ackerman is a member of the Shoreline Lightning Swim Club and said her idol is American and Olympic gold medalist swimmer Rebecca Soni; she rides her bike often around town with her family; and her running is completed during the sport she’s currently playing — soccer.

Ackerman said she will favor one discipline over the rest on Saturday’s kids triathlon in Spring Lake.

“I’d say swimming is my best because I swim a lot on a swim team,” she said.

Although she’d be thrilled to be the fastest finisher on Saturday, Ackerman has set other goals.

“I don’t care if I finish first or not, I just really want to finish,” she said.

The triathlon will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday at Spring Lake High School.

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