Local 10-year-old triathlete driven to succeed

At 10 years old, Madelyn Klinkenborg has already competed dozens of triathlons around the country. (Courtesy photo)

While kids her age were trying out for T-ball or youth soccer, Madelyn Klinkenborg of Parkersburg competed in her first triathlon at the age of six.

Now 10 years old and a fifth-grader at Aplington-Parkersburg, Klinkenborg has completed dozens of triathlons – swimming, biking and running hundreds of miles. She says she's not slowing down anytime soon.

Her mother, Tara, saw Madelyn's natural athleticism from a young age.

During a family vacation in Florida when Madelyn was four, she first showed her skills in the water when she refused to wear a floatation device while learning how to swim.

“We tried to get her to wear these arm floaties, but she just ripped them off and jumped into the pool,” Tara said. “She did really well, though, and swimming just came really natural to her.”

A couple of years later, some of Madelyn’s cousins – Cale and Colin Klinkenborg and Aubree and Avalon Weber – suggested she start doing triathlons with them.

In a typical youth triathlon, a contestant will swim 100 meters, bike four miles and run a mile, though distances vary per competition.

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