Four-Time Stapleton Kids Triathlon Champion Evan Klunder Banned for Life

It was a sad day for the Stapleton triathlon community after the event received another huge blow. Four-time champion Evan Klunder (nine years old) received his third positive doping test and was given a lifetime ban by the Stapleton Triathlon Committee (STC). “So many four, five, and six year olds look up to Klunder, so this is not something that we took lightly,” said STC President Jason Porche. “We have been working tirelessly to clean up this event and give it some legitimacy as we know so many kids have tested positive for banned substances, and some have started coming clean years after the occurrence.”

The Stapleton Triathlon began as a fun event to encourage fitness for kids, but quickly became extremely competitive much like the rest of the Stapleton community. “In the second year, you could already see the big changes,” said Porche. “Kids were wearing triathlon shorts, wearing swim caps, riding $5,000 bikes, and expensive running shoes. We did not foresee it coming to this so quickly. Many of the kids even had specialized coaches for each event and even the transitions.”

Klunder, a four-time champion of the event, also felt the pressure. “After I won it my first year (5), my parents were really proud,” said little Evan. “I got a big trophy and it was really fun.” The next year, the fun seemed to be out of it. “The next year I did it, we didn’t really do much over the summer except train,” said little Evan. “We would go to the pool, but not for fun, just to swim laps. My dad would have me out running at 4 in the afternoon when it was really hot. He said he loved me and wanted me to do my best.”

Evan does not recall any major changes to his diet. “On race day, I would get a lot of carbs, but nothing out of the ordinary.” Evan won the event his second year, but the race was close, so his parents knew they had to make some changes. Evan’s parents refused to be interviewed for this article. “My mom started rubbing cream on my arms and legs,” said Evan. “I asked what it was, and she said it was sunscreen. I knew it wasn’t. I also began taking ‘special medicine’ they said would make my muscles feel better.”

Evan stops short of blaming his parents. “They were my coaches, my mentors. I trusted them. But, at the same time, I wanted to win more big trophies, so I could have asked more questions. I could have refused the treatment they were giving me. Look, I’m nine years old. I can take responsibility for my mistakes and I have to pay for them. I’m not a three year old like Ryan Braun.”

Evan says he will miss the fans, the competition, and the trophies, but hopes he will be out competing again, even if it is not at the Stapleton Kids Triathlon. “I know that (Stapleton Kids Triathlon) is probably not going to happen. But, I am going to work hard, get back the community’s trust, and hopefully by the time I am in Jr. High I will be out there on the fields and the community can once again cheer me.”

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