Monday, September 14, 2009

Thank You, Augusta Half Ironman Team!

On Sunday September 27 in Augusta, Georgia, Team in Training Virginia will participate in the Half-Ironman Triathlon, sometimes called the “Augusta 70.3” because of the total distance involved. They will swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run a half marathon (13.1 miles). To my knowledge, this is the first time that TNT Virginia will do a triathlon of this length. I know that Richmond has a big team, and there may be groups from the rest of Virginia as well. I don’t know everyone on the Richmond team, but I do know a number of them. Three of them were on my first TNT marathon team in 2005 – they did San Diego and I did Anchorage. I have been on teams with several of the others over the years, and known others from mentoring get-togethers. At least one of them is a cancer survivor, and a number more have lost a loved one in recent years from these diseases. Several of them hold the coveted TNT Triple Crown, having already completed at least one marathon, triathlon, and century bike ride for the Purple People.

So to those on that team in Augusta – from Richmond, elsewhere in Virginia, or any other chapter – thank you for doing this, for raising funds to fight cancer, for making a difference. As someone who has never done a triathlon – my triathlon in the mountains a few weeks ago doesn’t count – I am amazed at your hard work and achievements. As a cancer survivor, I am alive because people like you, decades ago, raised money to go towards Hodgkin lymphoma research. There will people alive in the future because of you.

Have a great time in Augusta, you awesome team! I am thankful for your efforts, and appreciate what you are doing. Here is my tribute to you.

"To the Half-Iron Women and Men"

You’re not made of iron, but of bone, blood, and muscle
You’ve got grit and pizzazz, determination and hustle
You’ve worked your butts off, you’re trained to a peak
Cause your upcoming adventure is not for the weak

For in less than two weeks, in the land of the peach
You’ll go seventy-point-three – no stroll on the beach
First, in a river, you’ll swim over a mile
Now I’d thrash around, but you’ll swim it with style

Then back on dry land, on your bike you will jump
And for fifty-six miles, the pedals you’ll pump
A half-marathon awaits when you’re done with that task
You’ll endure it, though tired, and the pain you will mask.

For many with cancer must do their own “tri”
And the outcome determines if they live or they die
First “event” might be surgery with much cutting and pain
And the loss of some parts with scars that remain

Next “event” could be chemo, they’re exhausted and sick
For many a month, since this treatment’s not quick
Radiation, with burning, is the final “event”
Leaving patients quite ill, so worn out and spent

Still others, to live, must replace their bone marrow
Surviving, or not, with a margin so narrow
For they may reject, with “graft versus host”
Cells so vital for life when they’re needed the most

With your heroic efforts and the money you raise
You are helping so many, earning thanks and our praise
On that day we survivors for you heartily cheer
As you race your hearts out for a cause we hold dear

So down there in Georgia, do your best and have fun
As you race for a cure while you swim, bike, and run
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:
I hold you in awe, half-iron women and men!

Art Ritter
September 14, 2009

3 comments:

TNTcoach Ken said...

Good job Art, I'm sure it came from your heart!

Katie said...

Great tribute! :)

Racn4acure said...

Thanks K & K!