This isn't your average triathlon; it's a unique race open to kids with all abilities; with around 10% of the participants being challenged athletes.
The theme for the triathlon was “includability,” because like Trace Dandrea, Director of “RODS Jr.” says, "We know that when kids are included, miracles happen."
Which is the big reason around 110 participants showed up to compete alongside youth of all different ages and abilities.
The race holds a special place for Dandrea, "It's important because my son Anthony has down syndrome, and we've found that when he participated in sports, he thrived,” says Dandrea
The youth had lots of encouragement some even had a little added weight, pulling their friends in a raft hooked to their leg, or pushing a stroller during the running portion. But, They don't seem to feel the extra pull, just the thrust of support and determination to finish the race.
Noah Aldrich, a participant who raced alongside his brother, pushing his stroller and pulling his raft, says, "It's just personal with Lucas and how he doesn't get to do anything. This is just including his ability."
The “Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome” or “RODS Jr.” organization teamed up with the Treasure Valley YMCA as one of the sponsors for this race for all.
RODS Jr. is an organization built up by just two people, here in Idaho.
"We ended up working together to build this organization up to 300 racers around the world, we've raised over a million dollars, we've helped 38 orphans get adopted,” says Dandrea.
Today they raised awareness for includability, and they raised money for “Guy,” a three-year-old Asian boy with Down Syndrome, who they’re raising $15,000 for, in efforts to help the family who adopts Guy with adoption costs.
Dandrea tells us that if these children with Down Syndrome are not adopted by age six, they are placed in an institution. Rods is structured to provide financial assistance to families willing to give the orphans a forever home.
If you would like to adopt, donate, or participate in a race, head to RODS.org.