Success Stories

I participated in the i-tri program from sixth to eighth grade. Even though I was an active athlete participating in competitive gymnastics, junior lifeguarding, surfing, stand up paddling, long distance bike riding and dancing, I had no confidence in my athletic ability and as I entered the sixth grade the social dynamic of middle school became daunting. I doubted myself athletically, academically and socially. Through my participation in i-tri, I gained the courage and self-worth to stand up for myself and be me. The i-tri coaches and the team of girls I participated with helped me acknowledge and identify my strengths. This sense of confidence that I developed during I-tri came as a result of small group chats with girls and learning creative visualizations and affirmations. There is another gift that i-tri has given me. For the last four years I have been given the opportunity to mentor the new i-tri girls. Mentoring has given me the chance to give back to a program that I love and believe in. It is an incredibly rewarding feeling to know that I am teaching the girls a way to transport themselves independently in the world. It is amazing to watch a girl who has never ridden a bike, ride into the distance for the first time. I remember the first year I crossed the finish line how exhilarated and empowered I felt. Now, every year, I get to ride alongside the girls encouraging and supporting them during the seven-mile bike ride. I witness their heightened sense of confidence in both their physical and emotional endurance and strength, and I am so grateful to be a part of it. I can honestly and wholeheartedly say I am the person I am today because of i-tri.

Tali, Studying Pre-Med at Butler University. I-TRI 2012, 2013 & 2014

I was running as fast as my legs could possibly carry me, tears streaming down my face. I am almost there. I hear the cheers and sprint through the finish line. I hug Theresa Roden as one of my friends jumps on my back. This is the best moment of my life. I accomplished something I never thought I could do: Hamptons Youth Triathlon.  I reluctantly signed up for the i-tri program in February of 2016. A timid sixth grade girl who hated running, was as far from athletic as it gets, could not ride a bike – I had just agreed to swim 300 yards, bike seven miles, and run a mile and a half. But as time went on, I began to believe in myself. With each stride or stroke I took I became more and more determined.  May rolled around and it was time to do the thing I feared most, riding a bike. I crashed straight into a huge pine tree, pulled myself out of the tree and kept riding. Soon it was race day. I was scared out of my mind yet I knew I could finish. I got in the water and swam my 300 yards, then I rode my bike the full seven miles. Finally, I ran the mile and a half run. That was when I cried. I ran across the finish line. I was so proud of myself!  The story does not end there. I returned and completed two more triathlons. All of the coaches have become a huge part of my life and Theresa became like my second mom. i-tri gave me hope. I say this because throughout the years I did i-tri I was bullied and put down by my peers.  i-tri became a light in the darkness for me. Today, I am an alumni coach who is honored to help the girls become more confident and how to use my light to make other’s light shine brighter.

Juliana, i-tri Alumnae Coach. I-TRI 2016, 2017 & 2018

When I was 10, I joined i-tri. My parents thought it would help me to make friends and feel better about myself. I guess they knew that I was at a low point. Middle School was really hard. I felt alone. But what I quickly learned in i-tri was that all of the girls were feeling the same way. I was not alone. i-tri is an empowerment program where you train your mind, body and spirit to complete a youth triathlon. Yes, I just said a TRIATHLON. Now, let’s be clear; I was NOT an athlete at ten years old, far from it. But I realized that wasn’t the point. Throughout the school year we would meet once a week for “Empowerment Sessions.” Each week we did a different activity, but they all had the same goal; to help us realize that we could do anything!!!!  On Saturdays, we got together with i-tri girls from neighboring schools to train.  We swam, biked and ran. Although I was never the best or the fastest, I knew that week by week I was getting stronger and closer to my goal of crossing the finish line. On race day I was queasy, nervous and scared. I didn’t think I could do it. Walking down to the water was surreal. We had been practicing for, and visualizing this moment for months. I looked around and all of the girls were feeling the same way, but as soon as the whistle blew the adrenaline just kicked in and before I knew it I was finishing the swim.  Next came the bike. I flew, SEVEN MILES, took off my helmet and started to run. This was the hardest part for me, but I remembered what I had learned in the “empowerment sessions” about being able to do anything and I pushed through. I will never forget the feeling of crossing the finish line. I ran and ran … right into the arms of my parents who had tears running down their faces. I asked them why they were crying and they said, “Because we are SO PROUD OF YOU!” That moment changed me. I really knew that it was true that I could do anything that I set my mind to and worked hard to achieve. The next year, I came back as a mentor. It was rewarding to be able to see girls who were just like me at the start, transform into confident, strong young women. When I entered high school, I trained to become a lifeguard. Now, on race day, I enter the water with girls who are queasy and nervous and scared and I look them in the eye and tell them,” Remember YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!!” Then the whistle blows and they’re off.

Pamela, Studying Education at Oneonta State University of New York. I-TRI 2013, 2014 & 2015

When I started training for my first triathlon, one the biggest obstacles I faced was that I didn’t know how to ride a bicycle. I had previously attempted to learn but wasn’t successful. i-tri taught me a visualization technique. I was taught to see myself riding for miles…I kept doing it and convinced myself that I was going to learn to ride no matter what.  When the time came, I tried my hardest, and I began riding! I was so proud of myself! Visualizing and using affirmations boosted the quality of my college applications, and made my dream more tangible. When I learned that I was accepted into my top school, I knew that these skills I learned in i-tri had definitely helped.

Alicia, Human Rights Studies at Barnard College. I-TRI 2013, 2014 & 2015

If I had to pick the moment that made me who I am today I would pick the one at the end of this story. When I joined i-tri I had just moved to a new school. I had few friends and my self-confidence was nonexistent. I was the lonely, non-athletic, new girl in 7th grade. I did not think I could do a triathlon. I couldn’t even run a twenty-minute mile. Just one year earlier, while my family was out of town attending my grandmother’s funeral – our house burned to the ground. I had lost everything. Many Saturdays the last thing I wanted to do was wake up and go work out. But I learned to put on my sneakers even when I did not want to. i-tri motived me to create goals and achieve them. I wanted to make people proud. On race day I was eager and nervous. My entire family and even some strangers were cheering me on. I crossed the finish line and my smile was wider than it had ever been. The following year, I became a mentor for i-tri and experienced the power of giving back. Now I’m studying Social Work at College – so I can help people achieve their dreams. Crossing the finish line, taking that one step, having that one moment has made me who I am today.

Kaya, Studying Social Work at Champlain College. I-TRI 2013 & 2014

Nicole in i-tri swim uniform
“I changed in many ways. Before I wouldn’t have to courage to speak out but now I do! I am now proud of myself, and I have i-tri to thank for that! I changed in the way I think of myself. I love my body and I feel comfortable in it… I now am optimistic and look for ways to be a leader, but also know the importance of a team-member. I changed in so many ways and I know the people around me are proud!”

Nicole, Student @ East Hampton Middle School. I-TRI 2018