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Our sport attracts a wealth of impressive age-group athletes with stories that remind us to keep moving when things get tough. Whether it’s bouncing back from a crash or helping others through triathlon, we’ll share some of our favorite stories here. Have your own story to tell? Email us at Shareyourstory@competitorgroup.com.
Two self-proclaimed “back of the pack” triathletes, Tracey Ford and Sally Kidd, decided to climb the 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Global Alliance for Africa, an organization that helps orphans affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. With a year of fundraising, they raised more than $20,000 and completed their hike last August. The money was enough to open a new library for the kids in Nairobi, Kenya.
The pair says they treated the hike like a six-day endurance event. “Competing in triathlons has helped us develop the mental toughness it takes to keep going when we wanted to quit,” Kidd says. “We’ve suffered in races and knew we would suffer going up this mountain.”
They wore heart rate monitors, set their watches at 15-minute intervals to remind themselves to drink and instead of granola, they packed race nutrition such as Gu and Clif Shot Blocks. “At altitude, the appetite disappears so trying to force down an actual meal or energy bar was difficult,” Ford says. “It was much easier to pop a quick Sport Bean.”
Before they started the hike, Ford and Kidd visited the slums where their donations would go. “The children in the Kibera slums have no running water, no electricity, little food, are surrounded by sewage and trash, yet they all went to the library every day to study because that was their ticket out of poverty,” Ford says.
“When things got tough on the mountain, I thought back to the children of the slum. I am so thankful to have my health, my family and resources to take on new adventures.”
Ford and Kidd are members of the Washington D.C.-area Team Z, who they say helped tremendously with fundraising efforts.
They both completed their first Ironman in Arizona in November of 2011 and, between the two of them, have the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, Musselman 70.3, Savageman 30.0 and the Tussey Mountainback 50-Miler planned for this year.
Global Alliance for Africa continues to raise money to build more libraries and help educate thousands of orphans and vulnerable children through its scholarship programs. If you’d like to donate, visit Kidd and Ford’s page here.