WSBT photo // Denise Bohn Stewart

WSBT photo // Denise Bohn Stewart (July 13, 2013)

SOUTH BEND -- Hundreds of people participated in the 13th annual South Bend Triathlon this morning, but these athletes were all kids.

Boys and girls as young as 5-years-old competed in the event.

They started by doing a one-lap swim in the Potawatomi Park Pool, then biked just over one mile and ended the event with a half-mile run to the finish line.

Every child got an award when they were done.

This was 10-year-old Addie Machalleck, of Mishawaka, third time competing.

"It was really fun," said Machalleck, who was breathing heavy after crossing the finish line. "You have to try your best to get quickly through the race and it's harder than you think it is."

South Bend Parks and Recreation Marketing Director, Mark Bradley, said 316 kids participated this year.

He says the goal is to get them moving young.

"We want them to learn a competitive atmosphere, but also to just be able to able to bike, to run, to swim, to be active."

Triathlon organizers say South Bend was the first city in Northwest Indiana to start a kid’s triathlon, now at least five other towns host similar events, including Warsaw, Plymouth and Mishawaka.