A man using a hand cycle.

Triathlons are by no means easy. It can be an intimidating sport and the combination of three disciplines; swimming, cycling, and running combined can seem daunting.

This past weekend, SpoFit was able to ease the nerves of some Paratriathlon newcomers by offering a 2-day beginner paratriathlon clinic, funded by the USA Triathlon (USAT) Military Program. The August 9th & 10th camp brought together para-athletes from all over the state to build on skills they already possessed, and increase knowledge of the sport.

“Out of the many [Paratriathlon] camps and clinics I’ve tried, this has been the most relaxed, easygoing, and helpful of them all,” said US Army Veteran and clinic participant, Robert Matthews. Matthews was wounded in battle, experiencing a Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and paralysis in his right arm. “This is the first clinic I have been to where the coaches have worked with my disability, and actually made it seem like my limitations were not uncommon. It motivated me to kick it into a higher gear. When I return home, I’m going to dive headfirst into improving, and placing these new ideas into practice!”

A man using a bicycle.

On Saturday, para-athletes were given detailed exposure to every discipline, during skill sessions. Coaches broke down swimming, cycling, running, track racing, and transitions, for every participant, making their clinic experience a success. US Elite Paratriathlete, Allysa Seely(@AllysaSeely), brought her experience and knowledge to the table, giving athletes tips over the weekend.

“My goal is to find an activity or sport for every disabled person out there, that they enjoy and will help them live a healthy lifestyle,” said Seely. “If that sport is triathlon, I will do everything I can to help them get to the elite level, so we can hopefully compete against each other someday.”

On Sunday, Paratriathletes took their knowledge gained from Saturday’s skills sessions and implemented it into a Super Sprint Triathlon, utilizing SpoFit’s Lap Pool and surrounding area.

“Everything has been great here at the SpoFit Paratriathlon Event,” said former Elite Paratriathlete, USAT Southwest Region Coordinator, and USAT Committee Member, Travis Ricks (@travologist). “A lot of great budding triathletes. I think a lot of people learned a lot of great things here in the last 24 hours and they are really showing it off this morning on the course.”

“I saw so much talent and potential in these athletes. If they take what they learned here and build on it, they will be passing athletes without any physical limitations in no time,” stated Frank Sole, owner of Sole Swim Solutions in Scottsdale, who coached participants through the swimming discipline.

“I look forward to seeing some of these athletes making it out to an event in the future,” said Ricks.

Travis’s wish will come true, as several of this weekend’s athletes will be competing on Team SpoFit at the September 21st Tempe Triathlon (www.tempetri.com), at Tempe Beach Park. If interested in competing in, or volunteering in this event for Lifetime Tri, please contact Kelsey at kelseyb@abil.org .

More photos locate at our Facebook Album.