Tucson triathlon event good for beginners,
By Loni Nannini Special to the Arizona Daily Star
For the Seventh Annual “Tri” for Acts of Kindness event, volunteers such as Pam Kallio have two goals: To raise funds and awareness for the Shyann Kindness Project and to stage a professional sprint triathlon with swag.
“Swag (goodies handed out to event participants) is always important. Some people will do a race for swag and will come back year after year because of swag, and we would like to see that,” said Kallio, a triathlete and director of customer experience for TriSports.com, a sponsor of the sprint triathlon/duathlon and 5K fun run/walk that will be held Sept. 17.
Kallio believes the “Tri” for Acts of Kindness — which features abbreviated “sprint” distances of a 300-yard swim, a 13.3-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run — is an ideal venue for beginners as well as for more experienced triathletes.
“The distances and location lend themselves to first-timers, and since the swim is where most people — especially first-timers — tend to struggle, it eases their minds being in a pool vs. in the open water. For more experienced racers, I think it helps them to prepare for longer triathlons, and they realize it is for an extremely good cause so they feel good about that,” said Kallio, who has completed in 17 Ironman Triathlons .
Kallio will teach two first-timers’ clinics in conjunction with the event. The first is at 10 a.m. Aug. 20 at TriSports, 4495 S. Coach Drive; another, at 10 a.m. Aug. 27 at La Mariposa Resort, will give participants the opportunity to view the race course and receive triathlon tips.
Kallio encourages anyone who has had any interest in triathlons to consider registering for the sprint triathlon or the duathlon, which features just biking and running.
“The exciting thing is that anyone can do this, and the sprint event is a great place to start. People of all ages, sizes and shapes are competing and it becomes a lifestyle, where people change their eating habits and exercise habits and lives,” she said.
“You don’t have to be born with a gift to do this. If you have the willpower, grit and dedication to hang in there with it, there is no telling what you can do. Your only limitations are those that you put on yourself with your mind.”
That philosophy was embraced by Shyann Rosati, the young girl born with special needs in whose memory The Shyann Kindness Project was founded 10 years ago.
Since then, the all-volunteer nonprofit spearheaded by Shyann’s parents, Sandy and Glenn, has served more than 20,000 underprivileged, at-risk and medically fragile children. It has provided more than 75,000 books, school supplies, dental supplies and toys along with messages of kindness, acceptance and anti-bullying year-round.
The organization also stages an annual summer backpack night for children in the Sunnyside neighborhood; last week more than 500 children received backpacks, school supplies and books. Additionally, an annual Christmas party provides toys, gifts packages, clothing and household items to children and families in need.
“We have no paid personnel, and all donations that we get — be it cash or goods — go to serve the children in some fashion,” said Glenn.
“We had no idea in 2006 when we started this that we would be doing it 10 years later. I think our volunteers get so much satisfaction from the smiles and thanks and hugs from the kids: It is a golden glow on your heart,.”
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