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IRONMAN Foundation Holds Event at Salt River Schools

A Yoga and meditation workshop took place in the high school gym where most of the students were new to this exercise but eager to learn.

The annual IRONMAN® Arizona triathlon took place on November 19, the IRONMAN Foundation® conducted a service project with Salt River High School on November 16 for students in grades 7 through 12. The theme for the event was “The Athlete in You: A Proud Tradition.” Along with the IRONMAN Foundation and IRONMAN Arizona, there were several representatives from the triathlon, as well as our own Salt River Triathletes and the Salt River Children’s Foundation.

The morning consisted of a quick orientation, followed by fitness and nutrition workshops being held in different parts of the school. Sarah Hartmann, community relations manager of the IRONMAN Foundation, introduced the speakers and gave an overview of the morning’s workshops and their topics. Several of the Salt River Triathletes introduced themselves: Rachel Seepie, Doran Dalton, Rueben Malin, Wayne Sekaquaptewa and Michelle Long.

Ironman Champion Jeff Symonds explains what its like to compete in the Ironman Triathlon.
“We’re excited by the opportunity to not only have our students learn from some of the most dedicated athletes in the world and in our Community, but to also have students make the connection that prioritizing health and wellness honors their O’odham and Piipaash heritage,” said SRHS Assistant Principal Rob Barnes.

As students rotated through the workshops, they learned about reconnecting with their inner athlete in a presentation by special guests Jacob Butler and Amson Collins, both of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Cultural Resources Department. They discussed how their ancestors used to run long distances all the time and how running is in their blood.

A workshop on stretching and meditation for athletes took place in the gym, while in the auditorium there was an overview of the IRONMAN Foundation and a panel discussion on what some of the athletes do to train for endurance races. An “athlete fuel” lunch and presentation took place in the cafeteria to showcase healthy eating for athletes.

The IRONMAN Foundation ambassador, Team Captain Mike Reilly, led a panel discussion and also discussed his role in the triathlon. Jeff Symonds, winner of the 2015 IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne, Australia, was also on the panel.

“I thought the event was a good way to promote a healthy lifestyle to the youth,” Malin said. “Having Community-member IRONMAN competitors to relate to and being able to meet an actual IRONMAN champion inspired many students.”

Community member Rachel Seepie introduces other IRONMAN Participants who are also participating in the 2017 triathlon.
The IRONMAN Foundation presented a $10,000 grant to the Salt River Children’s Foundation in conjunction with the triathlon, whose course runs partially through the Community.

“We are very grateful for an IRONMAN Foundation grant,” said Robert Scabby, chairman of the Salt River Community Children’s Foundation Board. “By leveraging the funding and multiplying the opportunities it opens up, we are able to extend helping hands and lift our tribal children to see clearer, richer vistas in their future lives.”

“The best part of doing the IRONMAN is definitely not the training; the best part is being involved in events like this and being able to sit in front of you guys and becoming an inspiration to the kids and people,” said Salt River Triathlete Doran Dalton.

The IRONMAN Foundation Community Fund donates to nonprofit organizations in communities that host its races. According to the IRONMAN Foundation website, this year’s grant funding brings the total giveback to more than $845,000 in the Tempe region.