News-Sun photo by KATARA SIMMONS Chelsea Schellenberg, 9, high fives her dad Aaron Brown on Saturday morning after she completed the Heartland Triathlon for kids in downtown Sebring. The Brown's are in the process of adopting Chelsea and her brother Austin.
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published: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Triathlon helps parents, kids connect
By CHRISTOPHER TUFFLEY
SEBRING -- Sebring's City Pier Beach crackled with energy Saturday morning as 246 triathletes -- some as young as six, none older than 15 -- gathered with their families for the start of the seventh Heartland Triathlon for Kids.
By 7 a.m. the youngsters were warming up. Some with parents or older siblings; others, members of triathlon teams, exercised in groups.
The Jaguars from Jupiter were represented by Michael and Chelsea Reed and their two sons, Taylor, 13, and Dylan 10. The boys ran Saturday morning; their parents run today.
Michael Reed gave his son Taylor credit for the family getting involved in the sport. He began running, competed in a 5K race, and became hooked. Now the Reeds train and race together.
In fact, it seems that the triathlon often brings families together. Sometimes it's because one member inspires the others, or the whole family wants to spend more time together, or because parents want to set a good example and help their children develop self confidence and be in good physical shape.
Take Chris and Karin Doty of Sebring and their sons Trevor and Chase who all swam, biked and ran this weekend.
"We wanted our kids to spend time active and outdoors," Chris Doty said. "We wanted things we could do together as a family and have a healthy lifestyle -- a lifestyle that's fun, not dogmatic. Kids hate that."
"A healthy lifestyle is the most important thing," said Rob Moules. He races and trains with his son and daughter Reeve and Rowan, both of whom attend Woodlawn Elementary School. "We want to teach them to exercise and be healthy and have healthy relationships."
John Hovius and his children came to participate from Clermont. Hovius is a professional triathlete with 25 years of experience. He and his three children train together, too. His daughter, Kayla, is 15 and competing today with her father. His sons, Lackland, 12, and Joel, 10, participated Saturday.
Asked what they liked most about the Heartland Tri, Hovius and Kayla answered quickly.
"The location," said John Hovius.
"The prizes," Kayla said. "The free stuff is great."
Every family taking part, of course, has its own story. That of Sebring's Aaron and Theresa Brown is special.
Two years ago the Browns, who already had a family, decided to become foster parents to a brother and sister. They met Chelsea and Austin Schellenberg the weekend of the 2011 Heartland Tri. It was Brown's first ever race. Chelsea and Austin watched him compete, and went home with their new family
Since that race, said Brown, "(The tri) has become our anniversary." He beamed with pride. "Chelsea (9) is in the race this year. We're in the process of adopting her and her brother permanently."
(by: Blindman~ - 6/18/2013)
Thank you for your service to our country Aaron
Aaron and Theresa Brown (by: Ken Brown - 6/16/2013)
I am so proud of my son Aaron and his family. Not only is he a great family man, he is a great patriot, serving in the US Air Force for the past 18 years. This country needs more men like Aaron. Happy Fathers Day son.
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