When he’s running down to the finish-line, all nine-year-old Finley McIntosh will be thinking about is going faster and the relief he’ll feel in a racing moment’s time.
This will be Finley’s second year competing in the Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon, where he’ll be among more than 1400 tamariki swimming, biking and running in Mount Maunganui – all giving it a try this Sunday, December 3.
Yet Finley is not your average TRYathlon athlete, and has been overcoming health hurdles throughout his life.
At one-years-old Finley got asthma then at about age five he developed Chronic Suppurative Lung Disease too.
“He’d get a lot of chest infections, pneumonia and he had asthma attacks,” says Finley’s mum Emily McIntosh.
But getting amongst the TRYathlon and training for the multi-sport event has given Finley’s lungs a new lease of life.
“The reason he got into the TRYathlon and sports in general, is so his lungs keep active and it keeps them pumping.”
Active is certainly the word for the Tahatai Coast School student, where Finley surfs, mountain bikes, and plays touch and football.
“He’s definitely improved and he was so excited to do his first Weet-Bix TRYathlon last year because he was always sick for the other ones.”
Finley McIntosh loved taking part in his first ever Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon last year. Photo: John Borren.
So what did Finley think of his first TRYathlon last year?
“It was exciting and I was relieved,” says Finley.
His favourite part of the TRYathlon is the cycle section.
“[The bike] makes you go really fast and it makes you feel quite good when you go through the track.”
For this year’s TRYathlon, it’s speed and friendship on Finley’s mind, with his goals for Sunday being “to go a bit faster and make more friends”.
“I’m so proud of him,” says Emily.
“He’s really come a long way from being admitted to hospital, and having to be that on-call mum myself sort of at all times… to suddenly being able to do these sports and see him get better doing it…seeing him be able to keep up with the other children was awesome.”
“I love how active he is and he’s so keen to do everything.”
Keep it up Finley!
Registrations for those aged six-15 open now at: https://tryathlon.co.nz/ and will remain open on the day of the event, or until spaces are sold.
The Sanitarium Weet-Bix Kids TRYathlon is at Baywave Aquatic Centre, starting 9am on Sunday, December 3.