Posted by: Joe Nuss on Apr 27, 2009
"A lot of people didn't even start the race, but she not only started, she finished," Alyse said. "I later found out she also helped another little girl run the race. This little girl acted as a mentor to another little girl and her own mother. I was inspired."
Alyse realized if an 8-year-old girl could help to change lives like that, then surely an obstetrician/gynecologist at Mintview Women's Care with years of experience in triathlons could do the same.
"Every day in my practice I see women, overstressed and downcast, who need a change in their lives. I know these women could benefit from participating in multi-sport training, but I'd never thought about how," Alyse said. "Then I remembered that little girl."
So she got to work. Alyse rounded up friends she had made on the triathlon circuit and set out to recruit 100 first-time triathletes to participate in the Ramblin' Rose triathlon in Charlotte. Her friends would serve as mentors and trainers to the neophytes and they would all be cheerleaders for each other. The Ramblin' Rose triathlon had an upper limit of 400 participants. More than a fourth of them came from Alyse's Ramblin' 100 group.
After that was when things got a little crazy. Alyse's friends, the mentors and first timers didn't want the good times to stop.
"We had people change their lives in just three months," Alyse said. "They knew how much their mentors had helped and they wanted to help others like they'd been helped. Really, we couldn't stop."
A core of women formed Tri It For Life, which is designed to introduce women to multi-sport training and help them run their first triathlon. In the first year, more than 150 women participated and every member who started the event crossed the finish line.
"Every single woman who signed up got a mentor and free training from some of the wonderful people I've met here in Charlotte," Alyse said. "Many of these women are now mentors. That helps them to keep achieving their own goals while helping others as they were helped."
Sometimes, Alyse said, she thinks she might be too busy to keep heading up such an ongoing effort which requires so much time and effort.
"I have a crazy job, a wonderful family and I am trying to train. I have my own things to do. Sometimes, it gets to be almost too much," she said. "But then I hear another story of another woman whose life was changed by doing a triathlon. Every time I hear this, it changes my own thinking from ‘Why do I have to do this?' to ‘I have to do this.'"
For more information on Alyse and Tri It For Life, visit the group's website at http://www/triitforlife.com.
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