NEW ROADS, LA (WAFB) - Let's call them the 'Fantastic Four' or 'Superhero' volunteers. WAFB anchor Donna Britt recently joined them at Satterfield's Restaurant in New Roads to discuss their brainchild, 'Tri-Us', called "Tri" for Tri-Athlon.
Aimee Moreau is a speech pathologist in her line of work. Mary Beth Guerin is an occupational therapist. Tim Garrett is a New Roads businessman owning businesses in New Roads and Austin Texas. And State Trooper Mark Morrison was unable to join at the power lunch, but he is very much part of the foursome who gave birth to 'Tri-Us'. The program is now growing by leaps and bounds. It started with their kids. Their daughters were in the Girls on the Run program.
" Tri-Us literally started around Tim and his wife's dining room table", Guerin said. "We had just run in the Girls on the Run's 5K that morning. And everybody was so excited, and we just didn't want it to end."
Tim Garrett said, "We knew that during the summertime we needed to create something to get the kids out of the house and get 'em away from the computers and cell phones. I think it was Aimee's idea. She called and said "Hey, whaddaya think."
Some would think it's a daunting task-- convincing those techie kids to train for running, swimming and cycling the triathlons. Organizers had to find places to train. So they borrowed streets in subdivisions and marched kids over to a neighbor's house to use their pool for swimming. Neighborhoods soon felt an ownership of these little athletes. They would hear that the team was training, and would come out of their houses to cheer the kids as they ran by.
"We were biking and running every Monday and Wednesday on their streets," Aimee Moreau said. "And so they got used to it. And they were very welcoming. Just huge supporters of the whole program!"
Tri-Us coaches say the town's support made a world of difference to the children in real competition. Every one of them completed their first triathlon and asked for more. Tri-Us decided if they wanted this to grow, it had to be do-able. They came up with a curriculum and put it in a simple binder that would explain everything about how to set up the program in your town.
Guerin said, "We really wanted to make it so simple and so easy that anyone can start it up. So you can start it in your backyard. That's where we started!"
Garrett pointed out that New Roads is ready to go big with this. "We can get as many kids as we want to have. It's just about the capacity of what we have right now." They say the lack of larger pools limits how many children they can train at a time. They'd love for a YMCA to open in New Roads. But maybe that's just ahead. As Mary Beth Guerin would say, "It all starts with an idea and then from there, anything's possible!"