Marana Parks & Recreation has introduced a whole new way to work up a sweat while staying cool this summer.

On June 2, it began the first of a summer-long program called the Splash N’ Dash Summer Aquathons. Splash N’ Dash features two competitive events – a swim and a run – for people in six age divisions: 6-8 years, 9-12, 13-14, 15-17 and 18 and up. Competitors earn points for each event in which they participate. The points are totaled at the end of the program, on Aug. 18, and the top point-earners receive awards.

“They have seen the pool, been in the pool but never been on a swim team, so this is quite an accomplishment,” said Lisa Shafer, referring to her two sons, Logan, 8, and Garrett, 10. Both boys competed in the opening night events. “The trick is to see if they come back in two weeks.”

If the program sounds familiar, it is based on a similar one hosted by Oro Valley’s parks and recreation department, said Tom Ellis, director of Marana’s parks and rec department. Marana scheduled its Splash N’ Dash for Thursday nights so area residents can compete in both communities’ events, he noted.

Oro Valley’s Splash N’ Dash Aquathlon is held Saturday nights starting at 5:30 p.m.

Marana’s entry fee is $5 per person per event, which offsets the costs of awards and marketing.

Spectators are invited to watch for free, said Ellis. He noted they can bring folding chairs and sit outside the pool to watch. Spectators are not allowed on the pool’s cool deck because of space limitations.

Events are broken down as follows: kids 6-8 years compete in a 200-yard swim and half-mile run, kids 9-14 compete in a 400-yard swim and 1-1/2-mile run; and adults ages 15 and older compete in a 800-yard swim and 3-mile run.

Adult competitor Kristen Swingle had a great time last week.

 “It was fun. This was the first time I have ever done a Splash N’ Dash,” she explained. “I don’t do triathlons because I don’t like to bike. But I love to run and I love to swim so this was a good opportunity, and it mixes the two of them.

“I’m hoping to make it to all of them,” she added.

If you go

What: Marana Parks & Rec Splash N’ Dash Summer Aquathons for all ages

When: First and third Thursdays of the month, June 2-Aug. 18

What time: Registration 6 p.m., Events start at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Marana Municipal Pool, Ora Mae Harn Park, 13250 N. Lon Adams Road

Cost: $5 per person per event

For more information, call 382-1965.

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