Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Why events?

When Dustin Booth asked me to do a triathlon with him in 2007, there were exactly four multisport events within 100 miles - the Spring Fling, Millerton Triathlon, Shaver Lake Triathlon, and Sierra Kids Triathlon. 5 years later, and there are a multitude: those four events plus the ViTri, Tri-This's Hensley Offroad Duathlon, Splash and Dash, Fig Kids Tri, Pinnacle Cyclocross Duathlon, Tulare Triathlon, Hanford Duathlon, China Peak Triathlon, and Bass Lake Triathlon. In terms of Triathlon Clubs in Fresno, the Sierra Multisport club went away but a stronger TC3 has emerged in recent years, along with the Visalia Triathlon Club, several new Cycling-only clubs, ICAN, Fig Kids Triathlon Club, Pinnacle Youth Triathlon team, and tri-this alone has brought more than 50 youth into the experience, most who are continuing their pursuits of fitness after they graduate high school (we have 8 youth currently who graduated high school but are still either borrowing a tri this bike or Tri-This helped them build their own...).

For myself and Tri-This, we host events partly to support the non-profit financially - overhead costs alone are about $500 a year and last year on bike parts alone we spent $3,000 in 2011 to keep the bikes as safe as possible for our population (thanks to bike shops generosity, they donated about $600). In the first two years of Tri-This, we had about 25 kids solidly involved - 15 of those students had at least one parent who had a job or even both parents. In the last two years, Tri This has had about 35 new students who in contrast, had 25 (71%) whose parents/parent did not have jobs or only one parent involved in their lives, and were entirely dependent on government assistance.

So as the needs go up, Tri-This has done more fundraising (hosting events seems like the most logical way, easier than asking for donations and more reliable than receiving grants) because we believe that income shouldn't be a barrier to a healthy, active lifestyle. By hosting our own events, we can let our kids race those events for free, give back to the community that has given us SO much, and in the words of one kid who camped with us all three weekends last year at the Hensley Offroad Series - "Hensley was the most fun I've had since my dad died four years ago - thanks." It's quotes that like that which motivate me to keep convincing kids to come out for practice, for the camping, for the community - and to Try This!