Killer B Fitness presents Gwendolyn Strong’s Indoor Triathlon today
This Saturday you can you can perform all the events of triathlon, while leaving your wetsuit, bike, and sunscreen at home and fight spinal muscular atrophy at the same time.
And don’t worry about the weather.
Killer B Fitness is hosting Gwendolyn Strong’s Indoor Triathlon, a charity event to benefit the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness and funding research on spinal muscular atrophy.
The indoor triathlon includes the “Sprint”, a 300 meter “swim” on a Vasa Swim Trainer, 9 miles on a stationary bicycle, and 1 mile on an elliptical machine.
For those looking for a bit more of a challenge, there’s an “Olympic” option which goes for a 600 meter “swim,” 25 miles on the bike, and two miles on the elliptical. If you feel like bringing a friend, there are relay options for Sprints and Olympics.
Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), also known as Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, is a genetic disease that causes muscles to degenerate and leading to breathing, feeding, and infection problems. SMA is the number one genetic killer of infants and children.
Bill and Victoria Strong started the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation after their daughter Gwendolyn was diagnosed with Type 1 SMA when she was just six months old. There wasn’t any treatment and infants with Type 1 seldom live past the age of two. But the Strongs didn’t want to give up.
“As parents it was just impossible to sit back and wait for the inevitable to happen,” Victoria Strong said.
Their efforts didn’t go unrewarded. Strong said she was blown away by the amount of support they received both locally and on a national level. Facebook users voted the foundation as one of the top 100 charities in the Chase Community Giving campaign, celebrity gossip-blog PerezHilton.com gave it a plug in 2010, and numerous athletes have sponsored events for the foundation.
The foundation has since sponsored research grants into the illness and the Strongs have traveled across the nation to raise awareness of the disease. While there are still no treatments, Strong said there’s a lot of promising research in stem cells and gene therapy.
And, for the moment, Gwendolyn is thriving for someone with her condition. Infants with Type I SMA seldom live past the age of two. At three-and-half, Gwendolyn has defied the odds and, though she requires a lot of extra care, she’s starting preschool, going on play dates, and interacting with her parents on an iPad.
“This is her life,” Strong said. “We’re doing everything we can to give her what she wants out of life.”
The idea for the latest event came from Killer B Fitness owner Bob Wilcher. Wilcher said he and his wife have been friends with the Strongs for over four years and knew them back when Victoria was expecting. Wilcher said he’d been in awe of the couple’s resilience in the face of such bleak news.
“They’re an inspiration,” Wilcher said. “They’ve never given up.”
Wilcher noticed an increasing interest in triathlons in the athletic arena, but they require a lot of training, fitness, and equipment. That’s when the idea an indoor triathlon done with exercise machines came to him.
“What better way to start than with an indoor triathlon?” Wilcher said. “You can get a taste of it and slowly transition from one thing to the next.”
Sign-ups will be open throughout the day, the first wave starts 9:30 a.m. at Killer B Fitness, 191 South Turnpike Road. Open to ages 8 and up. To register call 448-2222. All proceeds go towards the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation, www.gwendolynstrongfoundation.org.
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