Tri for a Cure: Event like no other

FOR A GOOD CAUSE — Left to right, Kelly Johnson of Bridgton, Joanne Jordan of Poland and Cynthia Bianco of Naples formed the team, "Will Tri Anything," and took part in the 2013 Tri for a Cure in South Portland last month.

FOR A GOOD CAUSE — Left to right, Kelly Johnson of Bridgton, Joanne Jordan of Poland and Cynthia Bianco of Naples formed the team, "Will Tri Anything," and took part in the 2013 Tri for a Cure in South Portland last month.

 

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

Kelly Johnson expected the three-mile run at the Tri for a Cure in South Portland to be a “struggle.”

“I was an athlete in college and, honestly, I have fallen out of shape. This was a struggle for me, but I have an extremely competitive side and I am also on the road to a healthier lifestyle,” the Bridgton resident said. “I ran/walked in the 4 on the Fourth (Road Race) — that was the start for me.”

She also had plenty of inspiration to carry her over the rough spots.

“I have a dear friend fighting cancer right now, and I wanted to do this for her,” Kelly said. “She is amazing. If she can go through what I have seen this past year, then I knew I could do this and raise some money to help beat cancer. I hate cancer and anything I can do to help, I will.”

Kelly joined up with Cynthia Bianco of Naples and Joanne Jordan of Poland to form the relay team — “Will Tri Anything” — as one of over 200 to take part in the sixth annual Tri for a Cure held July 21 in South Portland. The threesome raised over $1,200 to help the triathlon surpass its $1 million goal.

Founded in 2008 by Julie Marchese and Abby Bliss, the Tri for a Cure has become the largest triathlon in the state of Maine with over 1,000 women participating. The course travels along the shores of Cape Elizabeth and South Portland. The “Tri” includes a 1/3-mile swim, a 15-mile bike ride and a 3-mile run.

Cynthia completed the swim in 16 minutes, 41 seconds.

Joanne finished the bike ride in 1 hour, 16 minutes, 49 seconds.

FINISHING TOGETHER — As Kelly Johnson approached the Tri for a Cure finish line, she was joined by her teammates, Joanne Jordan and Cynthia Bianco. Tri for a Cure 2013 Goal: $1 million Raised: $1,259,014 Top 3 Individuals: 1. Kendra Jarratt, 1:17:26.1 2. Renee Durgin, 1:19:34.2 3. Elizabeth Strawbridge, 1:19:59.0 Local finishers: 73. Kristin Fielding, 40, Raymond, 1:32.40.2 110. Carrie Boudreau, 46, Raymond, 1:35.42.9 117. Elizabeth Crockett, 29, Raymond, 1:36.11.8 124. Phoebe Crockett, 22, Raymond, 1:36.45.3 132. Maria McInnis, 34, Raymond, 1:37.13.6 158. Kristina Stevens, 45, Fryeburg, 1:39.10.4 182. Crystal Drew, 34, Center Lovell, 1:40.34.0 185. Linda Christensen, 49, Sebago, 1:40.35.9 287. Erin Plummer, 30, Naples, 1:435.38.2 341. Susan Crockett, 54, Raymond, 1:49.38.3 425. Amy Pond, 38, Naples, 1:56.24.6 485. Ellen Gagne, 46, Raymond, 2:02.52.3 489. Kim Hutchins, 53, Sebago, 2:03.35.7 529. Janet Harris, 34, Raymond, 2:11.00.7 547. Rebecca Vose, 47, Naples, 2:15.44.6 563. Kathleen Roche-Tolman, 50, Raymond, 2:22.28.5 568. Ansley Hansen, 25, Sebago, 2:23.41.8 585. Lynn Harrison, 69, Bridgton, 2:38.39.4

FINISHING TOGETHER — As Kelly Johnson approached the Tri for a Cure finish line, she was joined by her teammates, Joanne Jordan and Cynthia Bianco.
Tri for a Cure 2013
Goal: $1 million
Raised: $1,259,014
Top 3 Individuals:
1. Kendra Jarratt, 1:17:26.1
2. Renee Durgin, 1:19:34.2
3. Elizabeth Strawbridge, 1:19:59.0
Local finishers:
73. Kristin Fielding, 40, Raymond, 1:32.40.2
110. Carrie Boudreau, 46, Raymond, 1:35.42.9
117. Elizabeth Crockett, 29, Raymond, 1:36.11.8
124. Phoebe Crockett, 22, Raymond, 1:36.45.3
132. Maria McInnis, 34, Raymond, 1:37.13.6
158. Kristina Stevens, 45, Fryeburg, 1:39.10.4
182. Crystal Drew, 34, Center Lovell, 1:40.34.0
185. Linda Christensen, 49, Sebago, 1:40.35.9
287. Erin Plummer, 30, Naples, 1:435.38.2
341. Susan Crockett, 54, Raymond, 1:49.38.3
425. Amy Pond, 38, Naples, 1:56.24.6
485. Ellen Gagne, 46, Raymond, 2:02.52.3
489. Kim Hutchins, 53, Sebago, 2:03.35.7
529. Janet Harris, 34, Raymond, 2:11.00.7
547. Rebecca Vose, 47, Naples, 2:15.44.6
563. Kathleen Roche-Tolman, 50, Raymond, 2:22.28.5
568. Ansley Hansen, 25, Sebago, 2:23.41.8
585. Lynn Harrison, 69, Bridgton, 2:38.39.4

And, Kelly crossed the finish line — joined by her tri-mates — in 43 minutes, 23 seconds.

“To be with this team of ladies and all play a role in this amazing event was so rewarding. To see so many cancer survivors who have beat this awful disease was also so rewarding.,” said Kelly, who is the Bridgton Water Department office manager. “Next year, my personal goal is to do the whole thing.”

The Tri for a Cure field varied from the “well-trained” athlete to the weekend warrior, yet they all gathered for the same cause — to stomp out cancer.

“So many people gave me such amazing support before and during the race,” Kelly said.

Like her teammate, Cynthia Bianco was not prepared to take on all three disciplines, but she wanted to be part of the cause. A “tri” first timer, she volunteered to take on the swim portion.

“(The most difficult aspect) was preparing to swim in the ocean versus swimming in the lake or a pool,” said Cynthia, whose family owns Naples Marina and Captain Jack’s Restaurant (she also works full-time as a senior vice president for Winn Companies, a national property management firm home-based in Massachusetts). “It was incredibly inspiring to be part of an event that has personal meaning for every athlete participating and raises a generous source of funding for Maine cancer research.”

Like most people, cancer has touched Cynthia’s life. Her mom died of cancer when she was 20 years old.

“I was proud to participate in her memory,” she said.

For Joanne Jordan, she made a successful return to “tri” competition last month.

As the special events manager for the Maine Cancer Foundation, Joanne helped organize the first Tri for a Cure.

“The volunteer committee was made up of cancer survivors, athletes and nontraditional athletes that assured me I could do it. I met all the athletes at the finish line that year and was so inspired by their look of accomplishment when they crossed the finish line, I was inspired to start training for the next year,” said Joanne, 47, a developer and mother of two girls and grandmother of two girls.

In 2009, she undertook the “run” portion as a relay team member, and then went solo in 2010 and 2011.

Preparing for July’s return to the “Tri” wasn’t easy.

“It was hard to keep being positive since I am not a natural athlete. Luckily, I had an amazing support system of people who would not let me lose sight of the success ahead of me,” she said. “This event is like no other. While on the bike course and run course, not only are volunteers and spectators cheering you on, the other athletes encourage you to keep going. We are all winners when we cross the finish line.”

Joanne had two goals: work out and raise money for cancer research in Maine, which she deemed as “priceless.”

“I know so many survivors and have lost many friends to cancer that it (the Tri for a Cure) gives me something I can do to make a difference instead of feeling helpless,” she said.

Joanne dedicated her efforts in memory of her friend, Andrea Wedge, who lost her battle against breast cancer this past year.

“She was one of the original people who got me started,” Joanne said. “I still run to the play list she made me.”

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