When they were getting their start in triathlon in the early 2000s, Kim and Ryan Frost never predicted they’d end up coaching an entire team of youth triathletes — including three of their own kids.
The Frosts, who met in college, started as fans of mountain biking and running. They made their first inroads into multisport through adventure racing and off-road triathlons. Finishing an IRONMAN was on the bucket list for both Kim and Ryan, so they signed up and completed IRONMAN Texas together.
They put their three children, Hope, Tate and Eve, in swimming lessons and on the local swim team right away. Kim and Ryan wanted to teach the kids water safety and ensure they were comfortable in the water, as pool and ocean swimming was part of daily life in the Virginia Beach area.
On a whim in 2012, they registered their oldest daughter, Hope, for the IRONKIDS Triathlon in Raleigh. She was 8 years old, and her bike was a beach cruiser. She won — and that’s where it all began.
Inspired by Hope’s performance, Kim and Ryan both earned their USA Triathlon Youth & Junior Coaching Certifications. That August, Hope attended her first USA Triathlon Youth & Junior National Championships in West Chester, Ohio, placing sixth in her age group.
Today, Kim and Ryan are experienced youth coaches and co-directors of Endorphin Fitness Hampton Roads in Suffolk, Virginia. Fourteen-year-old Hope still competes, now in the youth elite division.
The other two Frost children have also caught the multisport bug — son Tate, 12, also competes at the youth elite level, and daughter Eve, 9, races in the youth age-group division.
The Frosts spend the spring and summer traveling the country for youth races, and they have grown to love the camaraderie of the multisport community. They have returned to Youth & Junior Nationals every August since 2012.
Hope, Tate and Eve have gained more than just fitness and technical skills through triathlon. The sport has taught them the value of hard work and perseverance, and it’s given them the chance to feel the joy that comes with achieving an ambitious goal.
“We are strong Christian believers, and we believe in the formation of character through hard things and experiences in life,” Kim said. “We love that it’s not instant gratification. Things don’t just happen right away, but you have to put in the time and the effort.”
“The hardest thing about triathlon is the work you have to put into it. You have to train a lot and believe that you can do it,” said Tate, who achieved his goal of qualifying for the youth elite division at Nationals this year. “It took me a while to learn that you have to be strong mentally. My mom has always told me that the body achieves what the mind believes.”
Hope’s goals include placing top-three at Nationals this year and receiving an invitation to a camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Along with the challenges of training, she is also learning to stay on top of her high school course load.
“Triathlon has definitely taught me the importance of time management and diligence,” Hope said. “During the school year it can be hard to balance all of the training and school work, so I have had to become good at managing my time and working diligently.”
More important even than character-building, though, is the time the family gets to spend together through triathlon. The Frosts travel together, train together and motivate each other through the highs and lows of racing. Kim understands how rare it is for three children and two parents to all share the same passion, and she plans to savor that for as long as she can.
“We’ve really made it our family thing, going to these races and traveling to different places together,” Kim said. “It just opens up so many opportunities. It gives you time together as a family, and that’s priceless.”
And Eve — who enters this year’s race as a three-time defending age group champion — knows no Youth & Junior Nationals is complete without a stop at The Cone for a post-race ice cream.
“The first time I ever went to Nationals, I got first place and was so happy. I was very excited the whole way home. Afterward we got ice cream!”