Published: Sep 20, 2011 4:11 PM EDT

CAPTIVA ISLAND, Fla.- Nearly 150 families headed out to Captiva Island to cheer on their youngster in the inaugural kiddie triathlon.
Participants swam in the Gulf of Mexico, then biked and ran along the coast of the island.
"I really just wanted to help grass roots, get these kids started at a young age and get them out into the triathlon community, get them into a healthy fitness is fun lifestyle at an early age," said race director Angie Ferguson.
The distances were tailored for each age group. For some kids, this was their first race.. and for many its a tradition passed on to them by their parents.
"It makes it more exciting for Lucas to see his daddy come through the finish line and understand how hard it is to do it and how much work it takes to come through," said parent Maria Collier.
Proceeds from both races go toward CCMI, a Lee county charity that serves 14,000 meals each month to those in need.
"It's a great example of how everybody can help feed people in our community.. whether its a triathlon or volunteering in a soup kitchen there are so many ways to get involved," said CCMI CEO Sarah Owen.
She explained that the kiddie triathlon was a unique opportunity for the young athletes to help kids just like them.
"I see kids every day who are going without food and I see these kids out here, they're vibrant, they're running, they're having a great day. It does make me emotional to think about these kids doing this so that those kids can get something to eat," Owen continued.
Sunday's race is at full capacity, but organizers are encouraging spectators to come out and cheer on the participants.