STAMFORD, Conn. -- Like a young child, the Stamford Navigators KIC It Triathlon continues to grow at a swift rate. Although rain, mist and fog reduced the number of participants Sunday, the addition this year of 5k and 10k runs gave the event added appeal for non-triathletes.
Now in its eighth year, the annual event has grown in terms of stature and appeal. After starting out as an Olympic distance triathlon, there is now a kids triathlon, a Sprint distance triathlon and the road races. Truly, there is something for everybody, a cornucopia of endurance competition.
Race host Kids In Crisis is the benefactor of the race, and a worthy one. The Cos Cob-based organization provides free round-the-clock help for abused and neglected children in Fairfield County.
I teed it up for the 10k on Sunday’s race, the first time I have participated in the event. The 10k, 6.2 miles, is my Goldilocks distance. Not too long, not too short, not too fast, not too slow. Like the proverbial porridge, just right.
While I can ride and swim, triathlons have never been my thing. It’s not too late to start, of course, but witnessing firsthand a Father’s Day calamity by a man just a few years older than me in the water at Westport has made me gun shy.
Having worked for the newspaper in Stamford for more than 20 years, I came to appreciate the city’s diversity. It might be the state’s best melting pot, a healthy mix of young and old, male and female, professionals starting out on bright careers, executives with six-figure salaries and a range of teachers, cops, firefighters, plumbers, electricians and carpenters.
That’s what the 10k course created by race director Jon Stellwagen reminded me of when it came to Stamford. The course diversity perfectly matched the city’s demographic and topographic landscape. Sometimes the course seemed fast and sleek, at others it felt like a grunt and groan course. Runners trotted through the city’s downtown business district, past residential neighborhoods and finished in Mill River Park. The course comprised the eclectic mix that sums up Stamford.
As luck would have it, I finished third overall in a respectable 46:27. Twenty years ago, I would have complained to the moon and back about such a pedestrian time. Now in my mid-50s, I appreciate the fact that I can still get out and run. There are a ton of men my age (and older and younger) who could not run one mile at the 7:30 pace I achieved Sunday. I’ll gladly take it.
Perhaps more than anything, though, is I feel good in supporting Kids In Crisis. I wrote two stories last week on young women -- Jessica Bonanno and Angela Balduyck -- who demonstrate what the race is all about. Jessica’s young son competed in the kids tri on Saturday, and Angela ran in Sunday’s 10k. Both raised money for Kids In Crisis. In their own way, they became community partners to help children who have been neglected and abused.
So as the race continues to grow, and participation escalates, let’s all remember the real winner is Kids In Crisis and the community it serves. Many Fairfield County children need our help. It is our obligation to provide it.
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