True team players

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					                   A WAY FOR EVERYONE TO RUN, BIKE AND SWIM

                                                                                                    PRESS PHOTO/DAVE RACZKOWSKI

Race to the finish: Matt Smith, 11, participates in a practice run for Saturday’s triathlon with help from
myTeam Triumph. Smith, a “captain,” receives help from “angels,” who include Terence Reuben, pushing
Smith, and others from the organization dedicated to providing people with disabilities the opportunity to
participate in races and triathlons. At left, Joe Manning pulls Mark Hollemans on his bicycle.

          True team players
                                                     FACT SHEET                                   CONNECT
      Local organization                                                              To find out more about this nonprofit
    aids disabled athletes              Tri del Sol                                  organization that assists people with
                                        What: A triathlon geared toward             disabilities participate in road races and
      in triathlons, races              beginners                                    triathlons, go to
                                        Where: Camp Manitou-Lin,
         BY KEVIN WRIGHT                Events: Thursday — Packet pickup         entered the picture.
       THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS           noon-8 p.m. Thursday at Gazelle             The Ada-based organization
                                        Sports-Grand Rapids, Triathlon 101       found corporate and individual
   MIDDLEVILLE — Mark Holle-            clinic at 6:30 p.m. at Gazelle Sports.   sponsors to cover the $2,500 cost
mans reached over the side of the       Friday — Packet pickup                   for equipment for each disabled
dinghy as it slid into the water and    2-6 p.m. at YMCA Camp                    participant, but Robb made sure he
grasped his mother’s hand.              Manitou-Lin, Saturday — Packet           worked out the logistics before re-
   Hollemans, who suffers from ce-      pickup 5:30-7:30 a.m., first swim        cruiting Hollemans and Smith.
rebral palsy, doesn’t spend much        heat 8 a.m.                                 He collaborated with the other
time on the water, but his grip         Register:                  five myTeam Triumph board
didn’t signal fear of the impending                                              members to hand-pick the athletes,
ride.                                                                            file the legal paperwork and find
   That’s not Hollemans’ style.                                                  the proper equipment to ensure
   “He loves activity,” Cathy Holle-    athletes will pull him during the 18-    the safety and enjoyment of the
mans, Mark’s mother, said as she        mile bike ride. The last of the three    captains.
watched her son on the water. “He       athletes will finish the race pulling       The meticulous effort made a
doesn’t like to sit and wait.”          the captain in a jogging stroller for    definite impression on Cathy Hol-
   Hollemans will have the chance       the 41⁄2-mile run.                       lemans.
to stay in motion when he partici-         “We’re going to do whatever we           “Everyone is so nice,” she said.
pates in the Tri del Sol triathlon at   have to make sure the captains are       “They are so well prepared. It’s fun
Camp Manitou-Lin, an event that         enjoying themselves,” myTeam             to be involved in the beginning.”
attracts about 500 participants of      Triumph executive director Ron              Robb said he hopes in future
all abilities. Hollemans, 23, and       Robb said.                               events to include four participants
Matt Smith, 11, will participate with      “We’re going to treat the cap-        — a physically disabled child, teen,
help from the nonprofit organiza-       tains like rock stars.”                  adult and veteran.
tion myTeam Triumph.                       The two captains, Hollemans              MyTeam Triumph isn’t limited
   Hollemans and Smith each will        and Smith, have participated in a        to triathlons or West Michigan.
captain a team of three able-bodied     wide range of sporting activities.       The group hopes to expand into
athletes who will help them during      Hollemans has skied with his dad,        other running events, such as mar-
the race. Hollemans and Smith are       also named Mark, at Cannonsburg          athons, and reach national status.
dubbed “captains,” and the athletes     and Boyne Highlands, and Smith              “We’re starting in Grand Rapids,
are “angels.”                           plays tennis and hopes to get into       but we have a national view,” said
   One athlete will pull the dinghy     fencing.                                 Terence Reuben, a myTeam Tri-
during the half-mile swim, while           But neither ever dreamed of par-      umph board member.
the other two will swim alongside       ticipating in a triathlon, especially       “It’s noble to do something for
to support the captain. Then, the       being the first ones off the starting    someone else.”
captain will switch to a bike           line.
stroller, and another of the three         That’s where myTeam Triumph E-mail:

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