Did you know that Tri 4 Schools offers adaptive events so that kids of all abilities can participate in the joy of the finish line?  Here’s one family’s story of how it has changed their lives.

By Amy Rothering

Our Family

My husband and I were both raised in families that LOVED sports.  We both had the opportunity to try many different sports in many different capacities.   When we got married and started having children, it wasn’t even discussed if our children would play sports!  We both learned so much from sports growing up, not only about the sport itself, but so much about life, and we wanted our children to have the same opportunities.

Twelve years later, we have three happy children that are involved in many different sports and have a love for it just like we did.   Claire, our 12-year-old daughter, loves swimming and running, while 10-year-old Jack, loves hockey and track/field.  Our youngest, William (7), loves soccer, hockey, and baseball.

Jack, was born with an extremely rare Chromosome Abnormality.  He is the only known child in the world with his Chromosome Deletion.  This deletion has caused global delays in all areas. Jack receives OT, PT, and Speech through the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District.  We have had the pleasure of watching him learn and grow in all areas of his life.   Jack participates in many different sports through Special Olympics.  He also participates in a wonderful Adaptive Fitness class at the UW Natatorium.  We encourage and allow Jack to participate in any sport that we can find suits him.  We will always encourage him and never treat him differently because he has different abilities than his brother and sister.

The Impact of Tri 4 Schools

My oldest and youngest children expressed an interest in trying one of the Tri 4 Schools triathlons and participated through the Exercise to Achievement program at their school.  As race day got closer, Jack began to ask if he could do one of the triathlons like his siblings, but we were unsure if he would be able to participate due to him not being able to swim.  We contacted the Event Director, and she was more than willing to figure out a way for him to participate.

Jack was going to give the Swim, Bike, Run format a try and have either my husband or I in the water with him, but on the day of the triathlon, he was extremely anxious and ended up doing a Bike, Run.  He still wanted to participate, so we continued to work with the Tri 4 Schools team to find a way for him to participate.  We settled on a duathlon for 2017 – Run, Bike, Run.  When the triathletes were starting in the water for the swim, Jack started his first run (running the bike portion of the race).   This was the perfect fit!  He was so PROUD and couldn’t wait to show everyone his medal after he finished the race.

I, on the other hand, couldn’t hold back my tears as I ran alongside of him.  Proud mama!

Jack adaptive triathlons tri 4 schools

Exercise to Achievement

Jack participated in the Exercise to Achievement at Elm Lawn Elementary School for the past two years.  One of his para educators at school was willing to stay to provide him with the support that he needed in order to participate with his classmates.  Exercise to Achievement was a great way to expose the children to all aspects of the triathlon.  They had specific running days, swimming days and biking days.  It was great that Jack was able to participate in the group and we are very thankful to all those that made it possible!

Adaptive Triathlons

If you have a child like Jack that might need a little bit of adapting to make the Tri 4 Schools Triathlon possible, I encourage you to connect with Katie or one of the amazing people at Tri 4 Schools.  We are so very thankful that they have made is possible to Jack to be just like any other kid.  There may come a day when Jack will feel comfortable doing the Swim, Bike, Run, but until then, we will work with Tri 4 Schools to find the perfect fit for your child.  I encourage you to do the same…. your lives will be forever changed!

Jack adaptive triathlons tri 4 schools

We are so grateful to the Rothering family for sharing their story, and for waking up early to do it!  Check out Amy’s appearance on Wake Up Wisconsin with Dani Maxwell, and let us know if we can help make the race experience happen for your child.

Visit this page to learn more about our Adaptive Events.