Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt
Children's Hospital Logo
Connect With Us:

Monroe Carell Jr.
Children's Hospital
at Vanderbilt
2200 Children's Way
Nashville, TN 37232

(615) 936-1000

Children's Hospital Logo
Home / A–Z Services / Safe and Healthy Kids / Champs A-Team Vanderbilt Buddy Program / Frequently Asked Questions about the Buddy Athlete Program
Printer friendly version of this page  E-mail someone a link to this pageBookmark and Share

Frequently Asked Questions about the Buddy Athlete Program


How far are the distances for each race portion?

Race distances vary race to race, however common triathlon distances are 2-4 laps of swimming, 1-3 miles of biking, and a 1/2 mile run.

Does my child need to be an elite athlete to participate as an able-bodied buddy?

No. Any children who are physically fit and healthy are welcome to participate as able-bodied buddies.

What does it cost to participate in the program?

Each race has different fees to participate, however entry fees usually range between $25 and $40. Financial assistance may be available to families who demonstrate a need.

What does my child need to do to prepare for a race?

Just being in great shape physically helps a lot! The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all children get at least 60 minutes of continuous physical activity every day. This can include any cardiovascular activity that gets their heart rate up, causes them to breath more heavily and sweat. Good examples include going swimming, going for a bike ride, roller skating or blading, playing a sport, going for a run or fast walk, or playing at the playground.

Will my child have the opportunity to meet their buddy before the race?

Most likely, yes. All first-time Buddy Program participants (both special needs and able-bodied) will need to have their swim skills assessed prior to race day to determine the safest way to complete the swim portion of the race. This often occurs at the Dayani Center pool, a fitness facility directly across from the Children’s Hospital. This is usually a good opportunity to meet your child’s future buddy. Any child needing to use adaptive equipment (running stroller, walker, wheelchair) will need to have the equipment safety checked prior to race day.

What can I do to help?

We are always looking for children to participate, so please share our program with families and children who may be interested.  We also welcome the participation of new Adult Buddies. The role of an Adult Buddy is to supervise the Buddy teams as they complete each portion of the race, help in the transition area, and ensure the safe return of children to their families following the race. The program also welcomes financial donations to help cover the cost of adaptive equipment and race entry fees for families who demonstrate a need.

What can I expect on race day?

Click here for a link to a sample “Race Day Prep Sheet”, including information on what to bring and what to expect from each portion of the race.

Who can I contact to learn more about the program?

Kelley Newman is the current program director. She is a pediatric physical therapist at the Children’s Hospital and can be reached at or (847) 373-4062.

Last Edited: April 4, 2014
Valued Participant of Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network