Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Youth sports

Spring Hill Kiwanis organizer seeks to inspire hospitalized kids through triathlon


The brainchild of Kiwanis Club member Scott Kelczewski, the SuperKids Triathlon was a success the likes of which could not have been expected.

It started eight months ago as Kelczewski listened to the radio. While he was driving down the road, former Major League Baseball player Jeff Conine was on, talking about how he was training for an Ironman triathlon in Hawaii.

Kelczewski, an athletic 32-year-old, entertained the idea of training for a triathlon himself. While researching local triathlons, he realized there weren't any opportunities available for kids in the area.

"I got the idea that this might be something good for the kids to do," Kelczewski said. "Triathlon events are activities that kids already do during the summer — riding bikes, swimming and running."

He proposed the idea to the J.D. Floyd K-8 Key Club, a Kiwanis-sponsored youth community service organization. With a slide presentation, he showed students what a triathlon was and asked who would be interested. Almost every hand was raised by the end of the meeting.

About six months ago, he began to formulate the plan of how to benefit the community with such an event.

Hospitals have inpatient children at their facilities, and small things help brighten their day. Starting with a postcard contest in the Hernando County schools, the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill decided to get the wheels in motion for the SuperKids Triathlon to benefit these hospitalized children.

The postcard contest, for which Kiwanis received more than 2,000 entries, would be used to choose 20 winners to pass out to the children in the hospitals who would be represented by young athletes who eventually would take part in the triathlon.

Next, Kelczewski needed a facility where the triathlon could be held. Weeki Wachee State Park was more than cooperative. The heads of the park allowed the SuperKids Triathlon to be held there free of cost.

Mark Barry, the executive director of the Arc Nature Coast, was also a big help to Kelczewski. A veteran of triathlons, Barry helped draw up the course.

Going into last week, there were 25 registrants signed up for the Saturday morning event. However, the number ballooned leading up to the triathlon. By start time, 72 had signed up and 57 ended up racing. Ages 5 to 16, every youth received a ribbon.

"When this all began, I had the attitude of, 'Let's see if we can make it happen,' " Kelczewski said. "It turned out very well. We had 20 volunteers from the local Kiwanis chapter."

The focus for Kelczewski now turns to the young patients who will receive the support of these children who ran the race they couldn't. While names can't be released because of privacy regulations, competitors knew the symbolism of why they were running this race.

Kelczewski's goal was to reach 1,000 hospitalized children with this benefit. There was no way that could happen with only North Suncoast medical centers, so the search has expanded. Kelczewski is in talks with the following facilities: Oak Hill Hospital (Brooksville), University Community Hospital (Tampa), St. Joseph's Hospital (Tampa), Shands Hospital (Gainesville), All Children's Hospital (St. Petersburg), Shriners Hospital for Children (Tampa), Citrus Memorial Hospital (Inverness) and Seven Rivers Community Hospital (Crystal River).

"I'm going to be meeting with the Kiwanis board of directors (this week)," Kelczewski said. "If it was up to me, I'd love to do it all over again next year."

Submit feedback, story ideas to community

Fast facts

SuperKids Triathlon

Sponsored By the Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill

Where: Weeki Wachee State Park and Buccaneer Bay, Weeki Wachee

Overview: 57 participated in the swimming, biking and running to benefit hospitalized youths around the Suncoast.

Spring Hill Kiwanis organizer seeks to inspire hospitalized kids through triathlon 07/02/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 6, 2009 5:53pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  2. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Monday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    OF/DH Corey Dickerson missed out on a good birthday gift when AL player of the week honors went instead to Detroit's J.D. Martinez. Dickerson hit .385 with five homers, nine RBIs and nine runs; Martinez went .389-4-9-7 and got the nod.

  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb learning to work with what he has



    If this were 2012 or 2013, even 2014, RHP Alex Cobb would have problems. He would find himself working with only two of his three pitches, with the missing pitch being his trusty changeup.

    Alex Cobb, working mainly with his fastball and curveball, is 3-1 with a 2.78 ERA over his past five starts. The Rays right-hander tries to continue his strong stretch tonight against the Angels.
  4. Rays vs. Angels, 7:10 p.m. Tuesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Angels

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  5. Fennelly: This season's Chris Archer is a pleasure to watch

    The Heater


    At this time last season, through 10 starts, Rays pitcher Chris Archer was 3-5 on his way to 9-19.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer (22) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, May 21, 2017.