Winona, MN is a small town nestled between two lakes and the Mississippi River in south eastern MN. Home to Winona State and St. Mary’s College. The bluffs that are above Winona have looked down upon this town and its Norman Rockwell life for well over 150 years. Something about the midwest draws you in. A simple life in a small town is alluring. Maybe I should have owned a coffee shop or a running store or sold square ice cream from a bike equipped with a cooler and handlebar bell. Watched corn reach for the sky in the surrounding fields and smelled fresh cut hay in the sweltering summer heat. Popped tar bubbles in the street after it rains. Walked barefoot in river mud. Cursed mosquitos.┬áSat on a bench under giant oak trees. Wandered in and out of stores in a real downtown. Rode a bike down the street as cicadas sing. Rock on a porch swing and listen to Johnny Cash. Listen to children in the park playing and watch a full moon come up….

Ahhh yes, Winona…..also host to the Lifetime Fitness Kids Tri on June 8th created an atmosphere of activity for children ages 5-13 as they participated in, and completed a triathlon consisting of swimming at least 25 yards, biking at least 1 mile and then running a lap around the college track. The amazing thing for me was to observe the pre-race excitement in the kids and their parents. For many of the littlest ones it was their first time swimming or biking without Mom and Dad or big brother or little sister. Parents should be given credit for encouraging their children to take part and for many it was their third or fourth or fifth triathlon. It was so darn cute seeing these little ones jump in the pool and swim or pull themselves to the other end, exit and run to their bike. For many it was a Bmx bike or a “My Little Pony” deluxe cruiser complete with basket. A winding mile took them to the track where they left their bikes and ran as much as a 1/2 mile. Faces had smiles and faces had determination and some even a few tears as they crossed the line and received medals.

The Lifetime Fitness Kids Mascot is Trey, a giant three- eyed red ball of fur. Kids always like something big and furry and especially when it can dance. Trey wanders by the Hylands Booth and we head for the awards. As a Hylands Ambassador Athlete I am fortunate to share the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle. When I actually see it up close and personal, when I see the smile on a child’s face and the joy in their parents eyes I know its a good thing that we all our doing. As I close out the awards I am left with a chorus of voices that will carry on to the next event in Plymouth, MN on July 14th…

Prior to the start there were 235 voices chanting “Yes We Can, Yes We Can” and now at the end of their day I am left with “Yes We Did! Yes We Did!”…..oh you most certainly did…Image

1 Comment

  1. Linda Wright

    What an amazing event and story. You go Mike.


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