JENNIFER Bartlett hadn’t swum or ridden a bike since high school.
Her teenage son Cameron was a handy junior footballer, but didn’t rate himself as a swimmer.
Together, they represent one of the core goals of Warrnambool Triathlon Club — to engage as many people as possible with the increasingly-popular sport.
The Bartletts, of Purnim, will be among more than 200 junior and senior athletes who will contest the Killarney Triathlon this weekend.
The senior race features a 500-metre swim, 16-kilometre ride and 4.4-kilometre run.
Kris McCarthy, Jade Frankel and Travis Greening are the leading male contenders, while Lisa Worrall, Sandy McDonald and Lisa Worden head an open female field.
For Jennifer Bartlett, 48, the event will be another step in a sport she never thought she’d take up.
She joined the triathlon club after Cameron, a Warrnambool footballer, signed up wanting to keep fit during the off-season.
“We had been and watched a couple of their events. They are totally friendly and positive and encouraging,” she said.
“As a parent, you like to be involved with your kids, especially at the age of 16.
“The club caters for everyone — seven-year-olds on their training wheels or older ones that are running marathons and ironmans.
“We’re real beginners. I’m just learning to swim. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was at school. But they cater for that.”
Jennifer said she had enjoyed her first cautious steps into the world of triathlons.
Her first race was the Warrnambool Duathlon in September. “I think I came about third last, but that’s OK”.
“Forty-eight isn’t a great time of your life to be starting something like that. You take it slowly,” she said.
Brauer College student Cameron, meanwhile, has leapt into the sport with enthusiasm.
His first race was at the Wunta Festival in February, and he was 14th overall in the Warrnambool Duathlon.
“I just want to try and improve my overall fitness,” he said.
“I’m not much of a swimmer, so to try and do a bit better in swimming and see how I go, really.
“I’m probably stronger in the running than anything else, then the bike, then the swim.”
Race director Leigh McCarthy said the Killarney event was the club’s first triathlon for the season.
McCarthy said about 20 club members would use the race as a final hit-out before the Shepparton Half Ironman on November 18.
Juniors aged up to 11 will race today at 5pm, while 12, 13 and 14-year-olds and seniors will compete tomorrow at 10am.
A “come and tri” event for novice triathletes is also on tomorrow.