I was no older than 6 when I first remember seeing my mother compete as a triathlete. We took the weekend off and left Eagle County to sightsee.
She joined hundreds of athletes to compete in fun competitions. I jumped at every opportunity to watch her compete, at the slightest glimpse of her broad smile and laugh. For my mom, however, it wasn’t about winning — it was about community, wellness, and lifelong friendships. Through her participation in triathlons, my mother showed me what true passion looks like.
It was one of many triathlons my mother has participated in over the years. My mom and her best friends have been running races to celebrate different causes. She continued to participate in these races until she was injured in 2007, the first manifestation of cancer spreading through her body.
Suddenly my world fell apart. The woman I admired for everything had just entered the toughest battle of her life. Although her body weakened throughout the treatment, her spirit remained strong. Even on her most difficult days, she had the strength to smile and shared her contagious laughter.
It was after her cancer diagnosis that she grabbed my hand and told me to hold on to my passions, and they would bring so much joy to life. She was referring to my passion for music and helping others. She pointed out that it is through her love of triathlon and community that she has flourished in life and friendships.
I took that advice with me to this day. In a year, I will be graduating from the University of Colorado Medical School as a physician – I strive to embody the same kindness and love for the community in my patient care that my mother showed. .
The summer my mother died was, and still is, the worst summer of my life. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of her, wishing she were still here. I wish she could see how much her community rallied around her after her passing – the impact she had throughout her life on so many people.
It was this impact that sparked the idea of a memorial triathlon. The 1st Annual LG Tri, named after my mother Laura Genelin, marked the start of an annual community event. Each July, community members come together to celebrate his life, the sport of triathlon and compassion in Eagle County. The Vail Valley Charitable Fund, after graciously supporting our family, is hosting this triathlon to support other families experiencing tragedy.
This July 9 is the 14th annual LG Tri. Competitors from all over will travel to Eagle, Colorado to celebrate and race. All skill levels – beginner (e.g. my poor swimming abilities) to elite – are welcome. My mother’s presence is apparent in the minds of the runners and the community as we celebrate her life. Join us on July 9 in Eagle by running or volunteering and see the impact of Eagle County’s community and celebration of passion.
To learn more about the mission of the VVCF, visit VVCF.org.