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Saturday Jul 15 2017

On your marks, get set… who goes? The NY baby race

Parents line up their babies to race in the NYC Triathlon's annual Diaper Derby, July 14, 2017, in New York City. AFP/Dominick Reuter

NEW YORK: It's a race of laughter, false starts and wild bottle waving: New York's Diaper Derby sees 30 infants battle it out for glory in a three-meter crawling contest.

There is only one real rule: trying to stumble to your feet is not allowed. From the sidelines, parents will on their progeny with bottles of milk, television remote controls, or jangling keys.

There is no stopwatch, and the time it takes these cherubic racers to power down the 10-foot mat is unpredictable. One child might suddenly peg out midway. Another breaks down in tears. A third crawls off backwards.

Held in the same Manhattan hotel that hosted Donald Trump's victory party last November, it has been organised for the last seven years by the New York City Triathlon, which this year holds its adult event Sunday.

While most parents are after fun memories rather than the diaper-shaped trophy, Tamara Cacchione admits to warming up nine-month daughter Maya up with the theme song from the Hollywood boxing epic "Rocky."

"She loves other babies… I am worried she may try to kiss the other kids," she says, having travelled from upstate with her husband, grandparents, aunt, and uncle.

"This will be something fun to tell her… maybe if she has children or when she is bigger I can show that she did this."

Kimi Mei, from Brooklyn, admits to subjecting 10-month-old son Hunter to a "little bit" of training by setting him against a friend in the park.

But her "secret weapon" is the remote control he "is not allowed to play with and he always wants to play with".

"So I brought it today and I am hoping I can light it up and he will go for it."

Chris Kennel, who drove in from Georgia to take part in the triathlon, wants son Carson to become an athlete and thought "he'd have a chance to win."

But in the end, 11-month-old Brooke crawled off with the trophy. An out-of-town girl from Dallas, Texas, she made a beeline for the finish line and won all the glory.

"She just likes to crawl around a lot," said mother Kristy Bender as her daughter dribbled into the microphone.

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