SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — The hot weather didn’t stop 650 kids across Connecticut from participating in the “Race 4 Chase” triathlon today at Camp Sloper in Southington.

Each triathlete trained for six weeks leading up to Saturday’s big event. Race 4 Chase honors the life and legacy of 7-year-old Chase Kowalski, who was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting.

His mother, Rebecca, spoke to the triathletes about Chase, his love of the sport, and why this race is so important.

“Chase has been the guiding light and the inspiration for this foundation, for the program,” Kowalski said. “A self-motivated little boy who asked to do a thing where you swim, bike, and run. Chase enjoyed everything and everyone in his life. We honor his spirit and celebrate the amazing accomplishments of becoming triathletes at 6.”

This is the ninth annual Race 4 Chase program. It has grown outside Connecticut, with events held in Rhode Island and South Carolina. Many of Saturday’s racers said they plan to do it again next year.

“When I was in about second grade I heard about the Sandy Hook shooting and I saw they had an opportunity to race for somebody that had passed away from it and I thought it was a good opportunity to come together and race for the people that matter the most,” said Madison Harrington, a coach at the race.