Triathlon helps kids fight obesity

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

When Jeffrey Gill returned home from deployment in Germany, he noticed one thing: the problem with obesity among children.

“When I got out of the army and became a lawyer, I wanted to give back to society,” he said. “One thing that really shocked me after living in Europe for three years was the problem of childhood obesity in America.”

So he founded a children’s triathlon to introduce children to four sports: triathlon, swimming, running and bicycling.

The Verrado Kids Tri is set for Saturday, September 16, at The Center on Main, 4239 N. Village Street, Buckeye. It started in Estrella, but he relocated the event to Verrado when he moved there.

“The event was developed and is targeted for kids ages 4 to 16,” Gill said. “They can comfortably come from any sport or background and complete a triathlon. The different distances are all extremely manageable, but they’ll challenge the kids.”

The race fee is $32.50, which includes race and sign-up fees. Proceeds go to local schools. To register, visit before 5 p.m. Thursday, September 14. Participants will receive a swag bag with healthy snacks, water at the finish line and finishers’ medals.

“I want to show kids that anything is possible,” said Gill, who has two children, ages 11 and 12. They participate in triathlons as well.

“There are some kids who are hurting, but you bring them in and support them. Just like life, endurance sports is 90 percent mental. As long as you work hard don’t give up, they’ll be amazed at the progress they make. They say, ‘I never thought I could do this. Thank you.’ It’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s great to see them cross the finish line and get a metal.”

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