Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program Finales Bring Out the Best in All of Us

Three weeks with three successful Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Finales showcased the talent and determination of close to six hundred and thirty Race4Chase Triathletes.  Each Finale brought with it a story of achievement for the participants who had completed the six weeks of training under the guidance of their coaches and junior coaches.  For many, mastering the challenges of the three disciplines of a triathlon was a daunting task when the program began, but with each successive week of training their ability and confidence grew until the big day where they gave it their all to cross that finish line.  Each Finale had its own unique challenges, but all were overcome with the enthusiasm and effort by all involved.

Here is a perspective sent to the Kowalski family from a new Race4Chase triathlete parent, Amy Arnold, whose son, Matthew, trained at the Southington YMCA and completed the Race4Chase Finale triathlon at Camp Sloper:

“I just wanted to share with you how much this program has changed my son. I have no idea what you have and continue to go through but, as a mom, I will be forever grateful that you chose to do something positive from your tragedy. My son will enter first grade in the Fall and was afraid to swim-after tons of lessons and the ability to do so, but fear held him back-before this program started. Today, I stood with tears in my eyes as he swam 50m with no life vest, rode a two wheeler which he learned at camp and ran with a newfound confidence. I told him the story of that day and he told me he wants to live his life for the people who can’t. It’s because of people like you who make this possible. He can’t wait to do this again for Chase next year and every year until he is 13 -which is what he said to me. I’m sure you hear this all the time but I just wanted you to know the pure joy I saw radiating from Matthew today and I owe it all to you and the role models that do this on Chase’s behalf.”

Thanks for sharing Amy….that is what the Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program is all about!

Race4Chase South Carolina Finale

The Race4Chase Kids Triathlon Program expanded from one to four sites in the Upper Palmetto region where they came together in late July to stage the Finale at the new YMCA Recreation Facility in Clover SC.  It was an ideal location for such an event with ample space to accommodate the 120 athletes, parents, family, friends and volunteers. While the set up for the FINALE was interrupted by a spectacular thunder storm, the weather cooperated with a beautiful morning with sunny skies, low humidity and reasonable temperatures.  The eldest athletes took to the water first followed by another 19 waves of athletes finishing with the youngest.  There were many fine performances from athletes encouraged by the family, friends and coaches.  Their success showing the effort that the athletes put into their training and their smiles when crossing the finish line showed their satisfaction.

Race4Chase Connecticut FINALE

Approximately 480 athletes from 14 CT programs descended upon Camp Sloper in Southington CT to take on the Race4Chase FINALE course including the infamous “Chase’s Challenge” hill on the running leg.  An acceleration of a storm front led to a delay in the early start to the races and a period of time when those gathered need to take cover due to thunderstorms that blanketed the area.  Fortunately, the delays were manageable and all of the athletes were able to compete in the FINALE.  The rains that accompanied the thunder made for another challenge for our athletes as the course became soaked. The athletes took it all in stride and used added caution when traversing certain areas.  All of this did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the spectators, coaches and volunteers as the athletes showed us what they came here to do. As they received their dog tag finishing medals, each athlete knew without a doubt they had earned their right to be called Race4Chase triathletes!

Our beautiful dragonfly quilt was crafted and donated by Julia Price, a resident of Newtown and a close friend of the Kowalski family.

And the quilt winner?

Meri Jitsukawa!

Race4Chase Rhode Island Finale

In its inaugural race, the Race4Chase Rhode Island Finale pulled out all the stops to make this a memorable experience for all involved.  First, they arrange to stage the event at the beautiful Fort Adams facility in Newport, Rhode Island, complete with its 360′ views of the city, harbour, sailboats and ocean.  The course included a point to point open water swim, a three mile bike including some challenging slopes and a run into Fort Adam’s itself with its own version of the “Chase’s Challenge,” just before circling the camp to the finish line.  This was by far the most challenging Finale course that Race4Chase triathletes had been asked to complete. The forty athletes who contested it, did so with great enthusiasm and aplomb. The post race party included great food, games and amusements, plus a live band to entertain everyone.  Now one wonders what they will do next year after setting such a high standard.

All of these athletes have earned the right to be called Race4Chase Triathletes and wear their dog tags proudly.  We are excited to look forward to next year’s class of prospective triathletes.  We already know that our numbers will increase with the great enthusiasm that we saw surrounding the 2017 programs.   Prospective 2018 programs should be looking out for the notice for applications for 2018 sites coming sometime in September 2017.  We expect to complete the process and choose our 2018 sites by the end of the year.  Those interested in establishing new sites should inquire with Jim O’Rourke at the Greater Waterbury YMCA (JOrourke@waterburyymca.org).

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