Monday, August 28, 2006

Racing for kids who can't

A picture is worth a thousand words, therefore, about fifty pictures might suffice to demonstrate how awesome the Miracles of Mitch Triathlon was. The kids did a fantastic job, everyone raced their hearts out, and that with no prize, nor podium, nor timing device. They raced in the spirit of their fellow kids who live every day too sick to run. Hyphen Girl related to me how inspirational it was to run for someone else, and how when she was getting tired she drew strength from that to not give up. In turn, when I was racing on Sunday, I could chastise my irrational mind with the thought, no matter how tough this course is right now, there is no comparison to the endurance of a family living with a sick kid, or a kid living with a severe disability. It's humbling to race when others can't. The body marking in this race gave each kid the name of a sick kid to race for, and then HG got a little extra confetti marking for her birthday. Ironically, the volunteer who marked her leg is a friend from my tri group, and who went on to take 4th overall women/1st AG in her first Half Iron race. Both Soap and HG were nervous before the race, but that didn't stop them from having a great time and making some new friends. It's always difficult to know what to do when Soap wants to give out our home phone to a stranger she just met, so she can plan a play date with them. The race was remarkably well organize, and included a parade of athletes, by age and gender, down to the water's edge. A group of competetors sang the national anthem, a prayer was offered up for safety, and for the kids and families not racing and then it was on to the water. There were hundreds of spectators cheering and yelling for the kids as they made their way to the start, how fun would that be? The challenged athletes went first, and the smiles on those kids faces was priceless, especially when they came out of the water and the crowd erupted in cheers. Then the waves of age group kids began. The swim was 200 yards for 10 and over The girls were all laughing when they had to round the buoy, you pretty much had to walk around the tight curve.The girls exited the water like a pack of hens, then down the beach, and up to the transition area. The path to transition was lined with cheering fans and parents snapping pictures, their own "red carpet" experience.

Soap was in the nine year old age group and had to wait a good thirty minutes for the start of her wave. The kids looked cold, which helps explain their explosion into the water. Things quickly slowed to a walk/swim event, which Soap decided to leave behind and torpedoed through the water. The bike was a 3 mile loop for the orange group and a 6 mile double loop for the blue group, Apparently there was quite a hill climb at mile 2, and HG sounded like her mom (aaaggghhh hills) after the race. The kids charged on, and went to the run which was a half mile and mile based on age. It was like a cross country course, winding through the park and the woods. I smiled when I heard them exclaiming how beautiful if was to go through the woods and over the course. I think a huge benefit to training is taking in all of nature around you. The announcer called out the kids names at the finish line, it was fun to see the kids come down the chute. Soap had the extra benefit of finishing to her favorite song "Unwritten" coming over the PA system. Then what better way to end a race than with a gatorade mustache? Followed by hot dogs and frozen custard.

The kids all had a great time, I think in part because this wasn't a competition, they could just go out and race and have fun. There were 700 competitors at this race (a North American record) and 500 were new to the race, and a huge percentage of those kids had never raced before. Something tells me the race will double in size over the next few years. I can't think of a better cause, or race. Count us in for next year.

10 comments:

Iron Pol said...

In 2005, I raced the Chicago Marathon in honor of a cancer survivor battling her second round. My shirt had her picture on it, along with information about her blog.

On Saturday night, I spiked a fever of about 103F. I spent the entire night downing ibuprofen and wrapping in blankets to fight the fever. My family wanted me to drop the race, but I considered what this cancer survivor had to battle, every day.

The race was completed, despite the fever. And the comments from other runners helped carry me many miles. Racing for others is probably the biggest motivational factor I've ever seen.

marz_racer said...

It rocks that your kids are racing for such a great cause and having some much fun. They are the future of our sport and you are helping them make that future bright. Happy Training!!!

Flatman said...

That last picture is my favorite!

Bolder said...

unbelievable.

i just can't imagine how my life would be different if i was racing triathlons for charity at that age.

unbelievable.

TriSaraTops said...

That is AWESOME. You've got such great kids. I can't wait to meet 'em!!! :) (And you and TriDaddy, too! ha ha)

greyhound said...

WOOHOOO! Now I want to hear the race reports straight from HG and Soapinator. I am definitely going to show the greyhound puppy, because she is the same age as soap.

I'll be orbiting around Trisaratops and Iron Wil at IM Wisconsin. I hope you and the tribe are coming too.

Mama B said...

Wow, so awesome.

Your kids are adorable, what great little athletes. I hope our little boy catches the tri-bug someday....I would love to have a tri~family such as yours.

Thanks for your nice post on my blog. I would l.o.v.e. to sit down with you for a beer someday.

qcmier said...

Awesome!!! They even have race kits and everything.

Ellie said...

Congratulations to the kids, and thanks to them for joining the fight for others.

Do we get to meet them at IMFL?

Chris said...

I'm glad that the tribe had such a great time. And that they were extra motivated by the fact that they weren't racing for themselves, but for those that couldn't.

I'm going to have to go down next year to watch/volunteer. Sounds like it was a great day.