LAWRENCE: Annual ‘Red, White and Bang’ children’s triathlon registration deadline nears

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By Lea Kahn, Staff Writer
LAWRENCE — Labor Day is still two weeks, but the deadline for signing up for the 7th annual “Red, White and Bang” children’s triathlon — the signature fundraising event for Lawrence Township’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show — is drawing near.
The deadline is Aug. 28, said Nancy Bergen, who heads the township’s Recreation Department. The event is aimed at children from 6 to 16 years old. There is no “race day” registration.
The event is a scaled-down version of a triathlon for adults. It is divided into swimming, bicycling and running segments. It will be held at the Lawrence Swimming Association at 74 Craven Lane, up the street from the Lawrenceville Elementary School.
“Our objective is to raise money for the fireworks. It gets the children out and promotes exercise. It’s fun,” Ms. Bergen said.
Participation is limited to the first 200 children who sign up by the Aug. 28 deadline. The entry fee includes a special event T-shirt — $30 for a cotton T-shirt, and $50 for a moisture-wicking T-shirt. Registration forms are available online at www.lawrencetwp.com, on the Recreation Department page.
The completed registration forms may be dropped off at the Lawrence Township Recreation Department office at the Municipal Building. It is open weekdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The forms can also be mailed to the Recreation Department at 2207 Lawrence Road, Lawrence Township, N.J. 08648.
So far, nearly 100 children have registered for the triathlon, Ms. Bergen said.
Children between 6 and 9 years old will swim 50 meters in the pool, ride their bicycles for two miles in Village Park, and run for three-quarters of a mile around the Lawrenceville Elementary School. Check-in is by 9:30 a.m., and the race starts at 10 a.m.
Older children — between 10 and 12 years old — will swim for 100 meters, and 13- to 16-year-olds will swim for 200 meters. All will ride their bicycles for two miles in Village Park, and run 1.5 miles around the Lawrenceville Elementary School. Check-in time is at 7:30 a.m., and the race starts at 8 a.m.
For safety reasons, all children must be able to swim 50 meters. No flotation devices will be permitted. No training wheels, tricycles or scooters are allowed on the bike leg. All participants must wear a CPSC-approved helmet while on the bicycle.
Although the 2017 Fourth of July fireworks show is still many months away, the fundraising efforts began nearly as soon as the last fireworks shell exploded this year. The goal is to raise money for next year’s fireworks show at Rider University.
Lawrence Township had paid for the fireworks show in the past, but budget issues in 2010 forced the cancellation of the fireworks show — much to the disappointment of the spectators who filled the lawn on campus to watch it.
That’s when two Lawrence residents — Dana Meth and Harper Collins — suggested the children’s triathlon to then-Superintendent of Recreation Steven Groeger. The first “Red White and Bang” triathlon was held on Labor Day 2010.
Ms. Meth and Ms. Collins said at the time that their children participated in similar events in other communities. The women were active runners and also belonged to the Lawrence Swimming Association. 