Innisfail Middle School is home to a championship triathlete.
Alexander Ramrattan, Innisfail Middle School Grade 8 student, is well on his way to medal podiums in the future after placing third in provincial rankings last year.
He is only 13.
ìI was watching the 2008 Olympics in Beijing on TV with a friend,î said Ramrattan. ìAnd as I watched, I realized that I wanted to run a triathlon. Without much training, I entered my first competition in the Elbow Valley Kids Of Steel (KOS) in June 2009 and placed fifth.î
The triathlon includes three events: swimming, running, and biking. Each competitor swims 450 metres, runs four kilometres, and then bikes 10 kilometres. Points are awarded for finish order.
Since his first competition, Ramrattan has been in 14 events, finishing anywhere from no placing to fourth. In 2013, he competed in five events, finishing fourth in provincials in Red Deer, fifth in the University of Calgary event, fourth in the Lake Chaparral KOS, and fifth in Lake Summerside. A timing malfunction resulted in no placement in last year's Elbow Valley event.
ìI train in Red Deer with the True North Triathlon (TNT) team coached by Troy and Elizabeth Aulenback up to seven hours a week,î said Ramrattan. ìI do most of my training in the pool as swimming is my weakest event. We train at the Dawe pool on Saturdays for 30 to 45 minutes once a week.î
His solid results and determination to improve and succeed have impressed the coaches.
ìAlexander is a great kid to coach,î said Elizabeth Aulenback, manager and coach with TNT. ìHe has a great worth ethic, and is always receptive to advice. Alex is a team player, and cheers for his teammates at races, even though they are competing against each other. Even though he is only 13, he is one of our best running pacesetters. ì
Ramrattan has some advice for athletes wanting to participate in triathlon events.
ìTrain hard. This is a tough event, one in which you need to train in the sequence you will be doing the events in,î he added. ìOnce you know you can finish the distance in training, you know you can go the distance in competition.î
Running is his favourite part of the regimen. The young athlete said he has run 15 kilometres to date but would like to push himself further.
ìOne day I would like to compete in the Olympics. I am still young, so I do know that I have a long road ahead of me to get there,î said Ramrattan. ìRight now, I am still in Grade 8, and school comes first.î
Ramrattan has the potential to develop into an Olympic-quality athlete, and while Aulenback realizes it is hard to predict at so young an age, she knows he has the work ethic to make it there.
ìIt does take 10 years to develop into an Olympic triathlete, but Alex is very diligent, and an important part of our club,î added Aulenback.
ìThere are two events that I want to compete in though,î said Ramrattan. ì I would like to go back to the Elbow Bay Kids of Steel event in June of this year, and it would be nice to run in an Innisfail Triathlon event sanctioned by the Alberta Triathlon Association in my hometown.î