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Scarsdale Patch.com Article

Published September 6th, 2011 in BAMFing, Just B

Helping Kids Race Toward Their Personal Best

…. and helping families of 9/11 victims along the way

By Kathleen Willcox

Preparing children for the demands of the real world while simultaneously lightening burdens is all in a day’s work for Jeffrey Boyer. Everyone wants children to grow up to be happy, well-rounded, successful adults. What no one can agree on, however, is how those ephemeral qualities should be defined, much less how they can be achieved.

One thing’s clear: children and adults are struggling more than ever. Test rates are down, obesity is on the rise, quality of life is flatlining and mood disorders are cropping up with alarming frequency. While exercise alone isn’t a panacea for our ills, few would object to it on principle.

“Training kids in an endurance sport helps them in so many ways,” Jeff Boyer, a trainer and coach, told Scarsdale Patch. “Aside from the obvious physical health benefits, kids who train at early ages learn self-discipline and endurance, which will help them in countless ways in their schoolwork now and their personal and professional lives in the future.”

Mr. Boyer, a triathlon expert and a certified youth and adult coach, says that his training programs can help both serious athletes and kids who “have tried out for teams, but didn’t make them and are kind of left in a lurch during the school year.” His training programs for children, which have been designed to work around school athletic programs, if necessary, focus on running, biking and swimming.

The triathlete’s triumvirate also happens to be perfect for some of the more, shall we say, athletically challenged among us.

“I’ve never met a kid who can’t run,” Mr. Boyer said. “Ditto biking and swimming. The question is just bringing them to their next best level, which is different for everyone.”

Children in his programs can start as young as 4. The ultimate goal is a half-triathlon; the youngest racers run about 100 yards, swim 20 yards in water and bike a mile (training wheels are fine, and so is an adult “helper”). The older kids aim to complete a more serious race; 7-10 year olds swim 100 yards, bike 2.5 miles and run 0.5 miles, while 11-14 year olds swim 200 yards, bike 5 miles and run a full mile.

“Training kids is fascinating,” Mr. Boyer said. “I love watching them grow as athletes and individuals. We incorporate more games, but they’re educational, so often they’ll end up learning a lot about the mechanics of bikes and different forms of racing through the interactive games we play.”

Most importantly, he said, the racers feel a real sense of personal accomplishment after standing up to the challenge. On September 10, 2011, one of the culminating events of Mr. Boyer’s training program is taking place, and it’s part of the Toughman Triathlon festival weekend. Much of the proceeds of the festival will be used to benefit the victims of 9/11.

The Triathlon festival was launched four years ago, with just 100 competitors. Now, the Toughman Half Iron Distance Triathlon has more than 1,000 adult competitors and scores of children participating. A portion of every entry will go toward the Croton-Buchanan Cortland 9/11 Memorial that is being built on the banks of the Hudson River. Mr. Boyer first began working with the festival last year.

“One of my personal clients, Andrew McMurray, a vice president over at Zachy’s Wine in Scarsdale, has taken it to a new level this year,” Mr. Boyer reported. “Andrew and Zachy’s teamed up for the 10th anniversary to sponsor the triathlon and create a separate organization that will benefit the families of those who died in the Trade Center.”

The Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund was created to help the victim’s children receive financial assistance for postsecondary education.

The Tough Kids Triathlon starts at 10:00 am at Croton Point Park on Saturday, Sept. 10. The Toughman Half Tri (1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, 13.1 mile run) starts promptly at 7:00 am.

Go to support the athletes or the kids, or to remember the victims of 9/11. Either way, participants and onlookers are helping people get to a better place, faster.

For more information on Mr. Boyer and his programs for children and individuals, check out his site at http://bamultisport.com. For directions or info on signing up for the triathlon, go to www.toughmantri.com. (The adult’s race has been filled for weeks, but there are still a few spots available for children.)

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