75 yard swim 3 mile bike .625 mile run
Just minutes after the air horn sounded to mark the start of the first-ever Tri for Inclusion ~ with tears streaming down her face ~ a poolside mom exclaimed, “The whole world needs to see this!” It really is as simple as that. Please share with everyone you love. Thanks to the support of The Lion and Blue Bear Foundation, Mikayla’s Voice presents “how the world should be everyday.”
Mikayla’s Voice Tri for Inclusion is much more than a race. It is a priceless opportunity for all children and young adults and an important message for our community. Kids of all abilities compete side-by-side and together in something they had likely not dreamed possible or ever planned to do. Children with disabilities sign up to compete in the swim, bike and run ~ or just one event as part of an inclusive relay team. Kids and young adults from across the Lehigh Valley provide assistance or compete the remaining events in the relays. Together, their efforts show our entire community that there is always a way to include everyone in everything.
On June 29, 2013, Mikayla’s Voice hosted our inaugural Tri for Inclusion, the first-ever inclusive youth triathlon developed to encourage and welcome kids of all abilities to “tri” together. It is difficult ~ if not impossible ~ to fully express just how wonderful this day was. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful sense of accomplishment ~ athletes for having participated and finished, and volunteers for having made it all possible. Our inaugural race welcomed 144 athletes of all abilities: thirty-four individual competitors and thirty inclusive relay teams including athletes challenged with physical, intellectual, and multiple disabilities. No one who wished to compete was left on the sidelines.
While we enjoyed many impressive reviews, the single best came from a competitor. During a post race interview, Julian shared, “I wish everyday was like today.” While we won’t promise a triathlon everyday, we’d like to make sure kids from across the Lehigh Valley have this opportunity every year. We invite you to join us in sharing this exciting experience and most important message on June 27, 2014, when we return to Parkland High School for the Third Annual Mikayla’s Voice Tri for Inclusion.
Background: Mikayla’s Voice was inspired to create the Tri for Inclusion by Conner and Cayden Long who traveled from Tennessee to serve as our 2013 inaugural race ambassadors. Conner had always longed to play outside and ride bikes with his younger brother, but the odds were against him since Cayden, diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy, can’t walk or talk. When he saw his mom reading an article about an upcoming kids’ triathlon, the determined and dedicated brother suggested they race together. Now known as Team Long Brothers (TLB), Conner and Cayden were voted Sports Illustrated 2012 SportsKids of the Year.
For more information about TLB check out their page by clicking the “ABOUT” tab above.
2013 Tri for Inclusion Film by Nazareth Area High School Senior, Joe Trachta.