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Tri My Best Triathlon runs on friendship, teamwork, support

Aug. 23, 2018, 8:49 AM

Cooper Jones, center, approaches the finish line of the recent Tri My Best Triathlon with his race buddy Cooper Wray, right, and his father, Kevin Jones.

Winning is not always at the end of the race, but lies in the journey of getting there.

That’s the message imparted on the 120 entrants who participated in the recent third annual Tri My Best Triathlon, an adaptive race sponsored by Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. The race took place July 8 at the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center.

The race pairs a child with a disability with a buddy to complete the race together as a team, using any modifications necessary to ensure the success of each child.

By working in a team, each child learns that winning is not at the end of the race, but in the journey getting there together.

Buddy teams are accompanied by an adult buddy throughout the race, which includes swimming, biking and running.

“This race is a great entry way into adaptive sports in the community. It helps children with special needs get out and participate in the community alongside their peers, and helps build lasting friendships among the buddy teams,” said Kelly Newman, DPT, PCS, HPCS, pediatric physical therapist at Children’s Hospital.

During the race, children complete the swim portion by being pulled in a raft by their buddy or swimming with a noodle.

They complete the bike portion on an adaptive bike or pedaling a standard bike alongside their buddy.

To complete the run portion, children can be pushed in a wheelchair or jogging stroller. Special-needs athletes who are able can jog or walk any part of the course, including across the finish.

To learn more, visit the Tri My Best Triathlon website.

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