Stephen VanGampleare, an engineer from Colorado, ran negative splits on his way to an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time.
The night before the 2019 Boston Marathon, Stephen VanGampleare slept on a buddy’s couch, in a studio apartment across from Fenway Park. The 28-year-old’s feet might have hung off the end—he’s 5-foot-10—but he was too grateful for the hospitality to admit it if he was the slightest bit uncomfortable.
“I don’t have much of a problem sleeping on a couch,” he said.
On Monday morning, he got up, met a few other runner friends at 5:45 a.m., and took the T down to baggage check for the race. From there, they boarded a yellow school bus out to the athletes’ village near the marathon start in Hopkinton. He ate a bagel with peanut butter, a banana, a crunchy peanut butter flavor Clif bar. He got comfortable on a plastic trash bag in the soggy grass, waiting until it was time to walk the 0.7 miles to the start. On the way, he stopped in the CVS parking lot on Main Street and changed into dry shoes and socks.
And from that mundane marathon morning routine—one that resembled the ritual thousands of other runners went through on the same day—he took his place at the front of wave 1, corral 1, and ran 2:18:40. Wearing bib No. 143, he qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials.
I signed up for my first triathlon nine years ago. My 16-month-old daughter, Hayden, had just been diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome (AS), a rare genetic disorder that affects one in every 15,000 births. As Hayden pushed herself every day to learn how to stand, to walk, to communicate using assistive devices (she is nonverbal), and even eat, I challenged myself with learning the sport of triathlon. I wanted to use the sport to help raise money and awareness for her condition.
I soon discovered that triathlon became a metaphor for our life. I wasn’t a natural swimmer, so learning proper swim techniques was a challenge for me. Swimming in a race was new territory to navigate, similar to the special-needs world I had been thrown into. Just when I thought I had figured out the swim, a wave would splash me in the face or I would get kicked by another swimmer fighting for space in the water.
Here’s the thing I’ve discovered with swimming: No matter how hard you get pummeled, you have to keep moving your arms and legs or you will sink to the bottom, just like in life. Many days I want to throw in the towel, but I have a child who needs me to not only care for her, but be her voice, to fight for her and help her reach her full potential—so I have to keep moving forward.
I’ve always loved the outdoors. I grew up riding bikes with friends around the small Georgia town where I grew up. I learned how to mountain bike while dating my husband, who has become my training partner and biggest cheerleader on this journey. Little did I know that something I did for fun on the weekends before having a family would help pave the way for not only mental therapy sessions in the woods, but also success in the sport of triathlon.
Learning how to race on a bike was work, but it was such rewarding work, just like overcoming daily challenges and not giving in until they are figured out. Grinding away over steep, rocky terrain with burning lungs and straining legs is incredibly hard, but unbelievably rewarding once you reach the top of a mountain and look back on where you came from to get to where you are now.
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced its first-ever National Youth Series, a packed calendar of youth-focused multisport events across the country in 2019. The non-competitive, participation-based series includes 59 youth triathlons, as well as the 73-event Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series. Races are geared toward children ages 7-17.
USA Triathlon partnered with race directors, community centers, coaches, clubs, and parks and recreation departments to provide participation opportunities across USA Triathlon’s six Regions, with a calendar spanning from March through October.
“USA Triathlon is proud to showcase some of the most beloved youth multisport events in the country through our inaugural National Youth Series,” said Meg Duncan, Youth Program Manager at USA Triathlon. “The Splash & Dash Youth Aquathlon Series, launched by USA Triathlon in 2012, has seen enormous success and continued growth with each new year. The National Youth Series now allows us to expand on that participation-based concept while opening up triathlon opportunities to more youth nationwide.”
All youth triathlon events are short in distance (typically a 100-400-meter swim, 2-10-kilometer bike, and 1-2.5-kilometer run), and are intended to expose youth to the basic elements of triathlon while providing a unique sense of accomplishment.
The Splash & Dash series is designed to introduce youth athletes to the multisport lifestyle through the fast-growing discipline of aquathlon (swim-run). With a focus on participation over competition, many of the events are not timed.
A male runner killed a mountain lion on Monday afternoon after it attacked him in Horsetooth Mountain Open Space near Fort Collins, Colorado. The man was bitten multiple times, receiving wounds on his face, arms, legs, back, and wrist.
While the victim was defending himself, the attacking animal, described as a “juvenile mountain lion,” was killed.
According to the account of the attack, the runner heard a noise behind him and stopped to investigate. This is when the mountain lion lunged at the runner, grabbing ahold of him with his teeth. The runner fought back in self-defense, killing the animal in the process. The runner sustained serious injuries, though they weren’t life threatening.
Authorities returned to the scene and found the mountain lion where the runner had described it would be. The incident occurred on West Ridge Trail. A necropsy is being conducted to determine exactly what killed the lion.
According to the Larimer County website, Horsetooth Mountain Open Space is 2,711 acres in size with 29 miles of trails. Though close to Fort Collins, it is located in the foothills of Horsetooth Mountain.
Mountain lion attacks are rare, as mountain lions prefer to avoid human interactions.
An apex predator found around the state of Colorado, mountain lions are seldom seen, but often a topic of conversation. Here are a few things you should know about this amazing creature.
Jerry Lee gets deep with the 303Radio crew and shares how Newton Running started, how some challenges arose and where the company is headed today. From the beginnings almost 20 years ago when they pitched big manufacturers such as Nike and Adidas to implement the Newton technology into their shoes, to the decision to make their own. Along the way were test shoes, colorful personalities and the decision to use IRONMAN instead of traditional running races to launch the Newton Shoe.
Eight-year-old Connor was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 1.5-years-old. He underwent chemo for 3 years and 3 months and celebrated his last dose with a family party. For the next couple of years Connor endured several finger pokes for routine blood tests. Sadly, his family learned in February 2017 that his leukemia came back.
Connor’s mom, Jen, shared, “He didn’t even feel sick but the doctors said he had to fight the bad guys in his blood and start taking chemo again. This second time the chemo was a lot harder- it made him really sick and he had to stay in the hospital a lot.”
Connor had a bone marrow transplant on August 1, 2017, from his sister Chloe. His health continued to improve but he couldn’t be around people or go to public places because of germs. He spent most of his time at home and was homeschooled to stay on track with his school work. Connor was able to FaceTime with his class.
One year after his bone marrow transplant, a biopsy revealed that his leukemia was back for a third time. He spent over a month at Children’s Hospital Colorado getting chemo in preparation for CAR T-cell immunotherapy.
CAR-T personalized cellular therapy is a revolutionary approach to treating cancer by using genetic engineering to reprogram the patient’s own immune T cells to find and kill cancer cells. It is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For the past two decades, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has invested more than $40 million in CAR-T research and development. Connor was the sixth person at Children’s Hospital Colorado to receive CAR-T.
Connor had a check-up 34 days after his CAR-T infusion and again most recently during the holiday season at 61 days post-treatment. The results were positive, showing no signs of leukemia. Jen shared, “This was the BEST Christmas present ever for our family!!! His fight isn’t over but this is a huge victory and we are soooo very thankful!”
You can click here to learn more about CAR T-cell immunotherapy.
Connor has been an inspiration to Denver-area teammates training for the Wildflower Experience and other endurance events through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, the world’s largest and most successful endurance sports fundraising and training program. Team In Training (TNT) offers a lineup of innovative high caliber domestic and international events, and prepares teammates for marathons, half marathons, and triathlons, as well as cycling, climbing and hiking experiences.
Since its inception in 1988, Team In Training has raised more than $1.5 billion, trained more than 650,000 people and helped LLS invest more than $1.2 billion in blood cancer research such as CAR T-cell immunotherapy.
“We all come to TNT with different our own personal stories and reasons for being involved with LLS,” shared Heather Collins, Team Captain for Team In Training Fundraising Team Connor McStrong. “Coming together to support our Honored Hero is what makes us a team. You realize that what you are a part of is bigger than just you, and your goals and your training. Watching Connor and his family go through the different stages of his treatment really brings the LLS mission to life and continually inspires me to keep doing this kind of work.”
Training for the Wildflower Experience begins on February 2, 2019. Team In Training will get you to the finish line with experienced coaches, training resources and a supportive community of athletes of all skill levels. Teammates also have access to world-class fundraising tools to help them reach their goal to fund blood cancer research.
“Before I joined Team in Training, all of my training was ‘solo’,” shared Heather. “I was hesitant about running with a team. Now I can’t imagine anything else! The encouragement and support from day one of training through event weekend helps me stay motivated. Instead of going into the event weekend nervous and uncertain, I now know I’ll have TNT Staff, coaches, supporters and teammates there to help me through. I find as much joy in cheering on my teammates as I do crossing that finish line myself!”
Join the team for the Wildflower Experience. To learn more, click here. Use code 303TRI for free Team In Training registration ($100 value, expires 1/31/19).
Those reasons often transition into causes and those causes are often taken on by a group of people working to help the same cause and obviously most of those causes involve medical conditions, awareness and advocacy.
Clearly many things motivate people to exercise, train and perhaps ultimately compete. We all know of someone inspired by unfortunate circumstances that might have impacted their life or of those they care about. The reasons are countless and often tear jerking and deeply personal.
This past week, 303radio sat down with Dr. James DeGregori PhD and Brett Kessler, DDS to talk about the community of like minded people they train with–Team and Training.
Team in Training is the largest charity endurance training program in the world. They have over 650,000 athletes that have raised over $1 billion to fight cancer, Leukemia and Lymphoma more specifically. Like many teams the connections and friends that are made ultimately make cause the greatest memories.
In this interview James and Brett talk about those connections, their own personal reasons and why’s, but more, they both know Leukemia and Lymphoma first hand as medical professionals that work directly with those effected and by doing research to help find a cure.
Not only will you learn how Team in Training helped them compete in century rides, marathons and even the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, but you will learn a little about the disease from people on the front lines and extremely driven advocates that will likely offer you some inspiration into your own why.
Gene Dykes of Pennsylvania averages 6:39 pace and breaks Ed Whitlock’s famous mark.
Gene Dykes, a 70-year-old retired computer programmer who discovered a talent for distance running late in life, set a world record for his age group in the marathon on December 15 in Jacksonville, Florida.
Dykes ran 2:54:23, breaking the previous record—2:54:48—set by the great Canadian runner Ed Whitlock (when he was 73) by 25 seconds. Whitlock ran his record, thought by many to be untouchable, in 2004.
Dykes, who averaged 6:39 pace for the 26.2 miles, told Runner’s World after the race that he wasn’t sure that his achievement had sunk in yet.
“My first thought was that this really frees up my schedule for next year,” he said. He can sign up for the races he enjoys—ultramarathons and hard marathons on courses that aren’t record-eligible—instead of chasing Whitlock’s mark.
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A frequent racer, Dykes has a knack for recovering quickly from difficult efforts. In October, he ran the Toronto Marathon in 2:55:17 to come within 30 seconds of the age-group record. Then just two weeks ago, he ran an ultra in San Francisco, the Vista Verde Skyline 50K (31 miles) with his daughter on December 1, and the California International Marathon on December 2. It’s a highly unusual racing schedule for an elite athlete.
Kyle Coon has been totally blind since age 6. That hasn’t kept him from rock climbing at 9, climbing Kilimanjaro at 15, and, oh yeah, becoming the fastest totally blind person to ever finish an Ironman race.
KUSA — When Kyle Coon lost his sight at age 6, he says he got depressed.
But that didn’t last long.
“I actually became a competitive rock climber when I was 8 or 9-years-old,” he said.
He climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro when he was 15, captained his high school wrestling team for two years and started doing triathlons a few years ago.
“It’s definitely become a passion and a real lifestyle, and just because I’m doing it blind, it’s just, you know – I’m just any other, any other athlete out there trying to have fun and compete against myself and fellow athletes,” he said.
Then, in 2016, he did his first Ironman race: 2.4 miles swimming, 112 miles biking and 26.2 miles running. It all has to be finished under 17 hours.
“It took me just under 16 hours to complete the full thing, and I think I walked the entire marathon,” Coon said.
Brett Kessler was helping blood cancer patients long before it became personal. He did an oncology fellowship after dental school where his focus was on treating patients affected by blood cancer. Then, he moved to Colorado in 1999 and joined The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society‘s (LLS) Team In Training to meet new people, train and raise money for blood cancer research. He then went on to be a triathlon coach for the program.
Brett shared, “I did not treat this population anymore and still wanted to support them. I was hooked.”
Brett’s mom was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) eight years later. She took imatinib (Gleevac®) through clinical trials which were funded by LLS. Sadly, Brett’s mom passed away in 2016.
He shared, “I felt like I directly contributed to her care from the work I did with LLS. The universe works in amazing ways as Gleevec was not even approved when I started with Team In Training.”
The fundraising Brett has done for the LLS mission through Team In Training is in memory of his mom but is giving hope to future patients through the efforts of local researchers.
The work of Dr. Dan Pollyea and his team of clinical researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine is funded by grants such as those from LLS. Three years ago, the team began a clinical trial program for the first therapy that could effectively eradicate leukemia stem cell populations. Dr. Pollyea shared that if you can really eradicate the leukemia stem cells, then you can potentially cure this disease. The results so far have been described as “unbelievable” because they can get 80-90% of people into complete remission with their approach.
The work of Dr. James DeGregori at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has also been funded by LLS. He is researching how the human body ages and its effects on how cancer cells find a way to take hold. He is looking at how can we mitigate those changes and interfere with cancer growth with clinical intervention. Dr. DeGregori’s team has done some work on mice to reduce cancer incidences but will they will be approaching their work with humans a bit differently when the time comes.
“As a practicing dentist in Denver, several of my patients have had various forms of blood cancers,” shared Brett. “Knowing that we have some of the best treatments available here in Denver due to the research of people like Dr. Pollyea and Dr. DeGregori makes me feel good that they have a chance to beat this awful disease. Twenty-five years ago, many of these diagnoses were a death sentence. Now they are manageable.”
The success of local researchers continues to inspire Brett. He earned a coveted spot in the 2018 IRONMAN® World Championship event in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, crossing the finish line this past October. He is still raising funds for this event and has raised $67,000 and counting in memory of his mom.
“This is an emotional journey for me,” shared Brett. “I am able to honor my mom by bringing awareness and raising money to help eradicate blood cancers. I am also able to honor the many people who are connected to the disease that I have met along the way.”
Team In Training is the world’s largest and most successful endurance sports fundraising and training program. Since its inception in 1988, Team In Training has raised more than $1.5 billion, trained more than 650,000 people and helped LLS invest more than $1.2 billion in blood cancer research.
Team In Training offers a lineup of innovative high caliber domestic and international events, and prepares teammates for marathons, half marathons, and triathlons, as well as cycling, climbing and hiking experiences, with experienced coaches, training resources, a supportive community and world-class fundraising tools.