VHBG to host fifth annual youth triathlon

The VHBG Youth Triathlon will return Aug. 20. Above, an athlete completes a recent year’s event, while below, VHBG President Claiborne Mason addresses participants.

The Virginia Home for Boys and Girls has partnered with Endorphin Fitness to bring a fifth iteration of its widely popular youth triathlon back to Henrico on Aug. 20.

For the past five years, VHBG has hosted the event, which allows children in the program ages 5-14, as well as local children in the same age range, to participate in the race, which includes running, swimming and biking. More than 225 children are expected to participate in this year’s event.

Proceeds from the triathlon are used to support VHBG’s youth with community-related recreational activities, which further develop their social and emotional well-being.

A number of local businesses and organizations have helped support the triathlon this year. (The Citizen is a partner of this year's event.) In addition, Fort Lee is providing 40 on-site volunteers.

“It’s a community event, so it’s not only our kids involved, but the community itself,” Connie Salinas, VHBG community relations manager, told the Citizen. “It’s bringing people who have never visited or known about us to the campus – everything is done here.”

Since the children the VHBG helps are supported by government funds, they have no money for extra activities such as karate lessons, guitar classes or other activities. VHBG uses the funds from the triathlon to help these kids have a fuller, more enriched childhood.

The triathlon also can provide a big opportunity for kids from the VHBG to shine and improve their self-confidence, Salinas said. Last year, a group home resident named Megan competed in her first triathlon despite her difficulties with asthma. The competition gave her the motivation she needed to push her limits.

“Megan overcame many struggles to make her dream of competing in the triathlon come true,” said Claiborne Mason, VHBG president. “We watched her compete without giving up, even when she ran out of breath and needed to use her inhaler. Megan learned to channel her strong will in a positive way and children in our community were inspired by her courage to persevere.”

Organizers of the event emphasized how important this event is, not only for the kids, but also for the VHBG itself. This event goes a long way toward providing funds that offer children like Megan with opportunities they may not have otherwise.

“One of the big pieces of it is the community support,” Salinas said. “One-hundred percent of the funds go back to the kids.”

Registration is open until Friday, Aug. 19, and organizers are encouraging as many people as possible to sign up.

For details, or to register, visit http://www.endorphinfitness.com/races-events/vhbg-youth-triathlon.
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On the Air Radio Players will present “You Heard It Here First” June 13-14 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, 2880 Mountain Rd. This old-time radio show features live music and sound effects. The performance will once again feature the winners from the seventh annual radio scriptwriting competition. Admission is free and open to the public; no reservations required. For details, call 501-5138 or visit http://www.otarp.com. Full text

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