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Triathlon 2016: The Iron Kids Do It Again

Published: October 8, 2016 | 4 minute read
Categories: Success Stories with Brain Injured Children

Kids Achieve Physical Excellence

Athletes will travel from around the world this weekend to Hawaii, where they will dive into the ocean and swim three miles, jump on to a bike and pedal 100 miles, and finally polish off this incredible feat, by running a full marathon. Whoever finishes first will be crowned “Iron Man ” ─ or one presumes, “Iron Woman.” It is amazing to watch these kids achieve physical excellence at such a young age.

“Iron” indeed! Who would imagine the human body could do that?

If you had been lucky enough to be in beautiful Springfield Township, Pennsylvania last week, you could have seen another group of athletes: some of whom have traveled from as far away as Japan, others from Delaware and Maryland. You would have seen them dive into a pool to swim a ¼ mile, scramble out, dry themselves off, helmet-up, and jump on their bikes to complete a 10 mile course, followed with jumping off their bikes, dash to the track and finish with a 5 kilometer run.

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The senior triathletes are off to a good start, the staff keeping track of their times.

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Yvonne is on cruise control, as the rain threatens the event.

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Transition time between each event is critical, because it counts in the final time. Here, Joelle heads to the track─her mother recording times

These athletes are all members of the International School of the Evan Thomas Institute. They will all complete their challenge this year, just as they have last year and the year before. Most of them take on the full challenge of the triathlon, but beginners and younger students participate in the biathlon, a more suitable challenge. Most of these young athletes have participated since they were six or seven years old, while some are just starting. They will all be winners either way, competing against their own previous times—not each other.

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Mother and Eivi coaching each other to a fine completion

These athletes are all members of the International School of the Evan Thomas Institute. They will all complete their challenge this year, just as they have last year and the year before. Most of them take on the full challenge of the triathlon, but beginners and younger students participate in the biathlon, a more suitable challenge. Most of these young athletes have participated since they were six or seven years old, while some are just starting. They will all be winners either way, competing against their own previous times—not each other.

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Dad and Joshua make a great team

The youngest athletes were 5-year-old Ethan and Ronald, who are preparing to join the biathletes or the triathletes next year. In preparation, they ran 5 kilometer in 38 and 47 minutes. What a great accomplishment for these iron kids — and what fun watching kids achieve physical excellence!

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Ethan finished his 5 k run with energy to spare.

As each participant crossed the finish line, they enjoyed applause, hugs, and water, before heading back to the track to run with their friends.  It is the long tradition of this event that no one finishes until everyone finishes. The last athlete to finish always has the honor of being accompanied across the finish line with the whole school following behind.

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Esteban completes in 56 minutes

As always, the triathlon was a real test of endurance, fitness, but most of all, determination. This year it started to rain during the biking, which could have been a problem because this increases the chance for accidents. Not for these veterans, though. They slowed down a bit and made safety the priority, so the event would not be spoiled. During the run, the rain increased, but the runners commented: “It was refreshing,” “It helped,” “No problem, I hardly noticed it.” Nothing can stop these kids from achieving physical excellence!

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Individual training and preparation are keys to success, but the final result is always a product of teamwork.


Interview: Taiga completes his biathlon, Raphael translates

Read the blog post - Physical Excellence: Why Does It Matter So Much?

See the results that were achieved by 3,024 Brain-Injured Children View All

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