We’d like to introduce you over the next few months to the four new members of our Tri 4 Schools Board of Directors. Each of them has a fantastic story to tell and a wealth of knowledge and passion to bring to the table. First up – Annie Ballweg!
1. Tell us a bit about you – your hometown, family, and your interests/hobbies.
I grew up in Madison. After high school, I moved out to Fairfield, Connecticut to play volleyball but after knee injuries and surgeries, I transferred to UW-Madison, where I received my Bachelor’s degree. From there, I moved out to Boston to receive my Master’s degree in school counseling at Boston University. It was in Boston where I fell in love with long-distance running, as I lived right on the Boston Marathon course. After getting my degree, my (now) husband, Sam, and I moved out to Santa Monica, California where I was a high school guidance counselor. As a fun side job, we worked for Nike as run leaders around Los Angeles and we also became a part of the LA Tri Club. Our triathlon days were born in California and continue to be a great hobby and passion for us. Once we moved back to the midwest, I worked for the UW Athletic Department, but then our first child was born and I started my own online triathlon and running training company, Train2Race, LLC. I continue my online training today and have three wonderful children: ages 7, 4, and 4 (twins).
2. How did you come to be involved with Tri 4 Schools?
I originally heard of Tri 4 Schools when I was working as a board member for Girls on the Run of Dane County. I was the event director for the first two years of the GOTR race in Waunakee and Katie had contacted me to talk about starting a race in Waunakee for Tri 4 Schools. I immediately loved the Tri 4 Schools program and philosophy and signed my kids up to do the triathlon. And of course they loved every minute of it! They had seen mom and dad do many triathlons in the past, and they were excited that they finally got the turn to do one themselves. My kids and I started by volunteering to stuff goody bags, and my involvement grew from there.
3. What made you want to be a board member?
Our kids have been involved in several races now with Tri 4 Schools and I have been incredibly impressed with the organization, attention to detail, safety, and quality of the races. I wasn’t sure what to expect – especially for our youngest ones at only 3 years old, but it was perfectly suited for their needs and ages. The joy they all had when receiving their medals was amazing. They hold the races in such high regard – the medals even hang in their rooms as a reminder of their accomplishments. The philosophy behind the program is even better and I can’t think of a more interactive and fun way to get kids moving! The trickle down effect is amazing – I can see it in my own kids. They practice for the big event, they do the big event, and then when it’s over they want to do it again, so they have even been setting up triathlons in our neighborhood and getting other kids to do it with them. I also see the benefits in their own schools because they have earned money through Tri 4 Schools and that money has gone to PE and outdoor recess equipment. It was easy to say yes to being a board member when I see the Tri 4 Schools model working directly in my own family.
4. What are you most excited about for Tri 4 Schools in 2014?
I am most excited to be a part of the new events we will be putting on. We have been talking about instituting new races, such as doing an “urban challenge” type of race, which would involve obstacle courses. I’m not sure it can get more fun than that! I love it that Tri 4 Schools is willing to try new things, get out there and challenge the kids, and continue to raise money for our schools. There are so many things to look forward to in 2014 and I’m honored to be a part of it.