This is not the only triathlon for young people in our community. In fact, right after we kicked ours off, the local community HOA, along with the local YMCA, decided they needed to run one. Many of the big money donors who had said they'd support us headed for the one with higher visibility and bigger names.
But ... ours was established by students for a very special purpose. Olivia, Hannah, and Kacey were classmates of Amy Boyle in elementary school. When they were in 6th grade, Amy died from a brain tumor. The girls decided to make something meaningful from her death -- to celebrate her life.
At first the girls formed a service club, Amy's Amigos, to do acts of community service. This included raising money through the Relay for Life. When they were in middle school, the girls recruited more students to Amy's Amigos. Other students were drawn to a club that existed solely to do acts of service for others.
But these girls are athletes, as was Amy, and when they got ready for high school, they wanted to think BIG. They realized that our community had an adult triathlon and an adult sprint triathlon, but the element missing was the triathlon for young people. They knew Amy would LOVE this idea, so they contacted Amy's family and started moving forward. Amy's family is integral to the event, serving on the board and cheering on the racers, the organizers, and the community.
The girls are now high school juniors, and this is the third year of the Be AMYazing Reston Youth Triathlon. Each year the event has gotten bigger. Our participant sign ups sell out within 15 hours. We had to turn off our volunteer recruitment spot because we had more than we needed. And to date (after 2 very successful years), the proceeds of $16,000 have gone to the Childhood Brain Tumor Foundation (CBTF).
These young people -- the founders as well as their numerous friends at school -- OWN this event. Sure, we adults come alongside to sign forms and advance money, but the event belongs to the girls, in memory of Amy, and to celebrate fitness in our community.
It is an honor to serve alongside with these young people and their families. And word to the big boys down the street -- these girls may graduate next year, but they have younger siblings. We're not going away.
Check us out at www.restonyouthtri.org
p.s. Still marshaling my energy. No ride today so I can be 100% tomorrow for volunteer training and Sunday for the event.