THE family friendly atmosphere of triathlon is something Kim Waiter has always liked about the sport and when you have 10 children that is probably a good thing.
Waiter has enjoyed travelling around to compete in triathlons with her children, aged between nine and 22 for about 10 years, but the trithegong event held in Wollongong earlier this month will be the last time they are all together for some time.
With her second eldest daughter Alexandria having just been handed over to the Royal Australian Navy last week, the Nowra Hill family look set to be one member short next time they compete.
Waiter said the Wollongong event was a little bit emotional as it is something they have done as a family since she returned to the area in 2004, after moving away to work with the Victorian Police Force.
“It’s almost like the end of an era in a way and some of the others look like venturing down the road of Defence, so it’s something that’s going to happen more,” she said.
“Our ability to compete together as a family will diminish, but I think they’ll keep with it,” she added.
Waiter described her children as a sporty bunch that love their triathlon, while her boys play rugby union with Shoals and there are some avid CrossFitters in the family as well.
They were introduced to triathlon by Mark Emerton from Elite Energy when he was starting up and Waiter said she saw it as a great opportunity for them to develop their skills.
“It draws on a lot of things. It’s not just about physical fitness, there’s also a lot of mental challenges. Each race is different,” she said.
“You put in as much energy as you can but don’t always achieve great results, so it’s a really good challenge.
“It also provides an opportunity for the young ones with the mini man and it encourages them to get out and be active.”
While they all acquitted themselves well in the Wollongong triathlon, Waiter stressed it has always been more about having fun and staying active than winning.
They will continue to compete as a family without Alexandria for the time being but Waiter is hoping they can all be back together some time down the track.
“I certainly hope so,” she said.
“She should be home around Christmas, so I’m hoping we might get in one or two as a family in that time.”
Until then, there’s no doubt she will be missed.
“From a point of view of packing and getting everything there, she will be greatly missed,” she said.
“The family car is a 14-seater bus and once you get all the bikes in, you’d be surprised how much difference it makes having even one less set of hands.”