Rita Kelliher, executive director of Madison Festivals Inc. – the volunteer organization behind Madison Marathon – wants to make something perfectly clear: This race is for everyone. “Madison does not belong exclusively to the people who have the good fortune to live here. She is the fair daughter of the entire state,” said Kelliher, explaining that funds raised by the Madison Marathon – over $20,000 during the spring events and $28,000 during the fall race – go to local charities rather than a purse for pro athletes.
It was only fitting, then, that volunteers with the main charity partner of the Spring Madison Marathon are also committed heart and soul to creating opportunities for everyone. myTEAM TRIUMPH is a non-profit that pairs physically challenged athletes (“Captains”) together with able-bodied volunteer athletes (“Angels”) to participate in endurance races, creating inclusion for individuals with varied abilities in events they may not otherwise have experienced. A total of 17 myTEAM TRIUMPH teams will race the Madison Half Marathon or Twilight 10K.
myTEAM TRIUMPH Race Director Kristin Schmidt said, "The partnership we have with Madison Marathon events has been an important factor in the success for myTEAM TRIUMPH Central Region - Wisconsin since our beginnings in the Madison area.” Schmidt explained that the willingness of Madison Marathon to host so many teams inspires participation both within myTEAM TRIUMPH, and for spectators – some of whom may become motived to volunteer as a team member or support the group in other ways. “We at myTeam Triumph are truly blessed to be supported by this great race organization,” said Schmidt. Kelliher reinforced the importance of the relationship, saying, “Our hope by supporting myTEAM TRIUMPH was that they would inspire runners and spectators to serve its community, with needs as diverse as its people, and give challenged people the thrill many able-bodied individuals take for granted.”
While describing the teams (most consisting of one Captain and three Angels), Schmidt said, “At each training events our captains cannot contain their excitement for the upcoming race weekend.” The Madison Half Marathon on Sunday will also include an elite team (one Captain and one Angel). This super-charged duo is Captain Josilyn and her uncle Scott McDermott. Even better: Sunday is Josilyn’s birthday.
Schmidt encouraged all spectators to make some noise from the sidelines, saying, “Every captain loves hearing their name cheered, so don't forget, if you come across one of our incredible Captains, let them hear you!!!"
To learn more about the work of myTEAM TRIUMPH, watch the video that Focal Flame produced for the organization’s fall 2014 Gala fundraising dinner.
This article is part of a series featuring the 2015 Madison Marathon event in 2015. Focal Flame Photography is honored to serve as the official photographers of the Madison Marathon. All participants in the Madison Marathon receive free FocalShare™ digital race photos compliments of race organizers. The Spring Madison Marathon races will occur on May 23-24 on the streets of Wisconsin's capitol city. For more information or to register, visit Madison Marathon.
- by Robyn M. Perrin