From start to finish, Shriners Hospitals for Children was the clear winner at the 10th Annual Eppie’s Kids Duathalon that took place Sunday, October 18, at Discovery Park in Sacramento. Shriners Hospital patients came from near and far to compete in the event organized as a benefit for the hospital.
“We had kids from San Francisco, Oakdale, Tracy and, of course, Sacramento sign up to participate in the race,” said Alice-Marie Laverdiere, manager of rehabilitation services at the Northern California Shriners Hospital. “Our patients participated in a special division organized for Shriners kids this year.
Each faced a different physical challenge, and as a group they represented the spectrum of medical services provided by our hospital,” Laverdiere added. “Some wore prostheses and some used a wheelchair. All were successful in crossing the finish line wearing with a great big smile.”
Each Shriners Hospital participant was teamed with a volunteer from the Christian Brothers High School Varsity Women’s Golf Team. These student athlete volunteers cheered kids on and provided assistance throughout the race.
The Eppie’s Kids Duathalon allows young athletes to enjoy running and cycling in a competitive format, and it is organized with the hope that participants may one day participate in Eppie’s Great Race, billed as the world’s oldest triathalon and a Sacramento tradition since 1974.
George Johnson, the son of race founder Eppie Johnson, and his wife Molly organized this year’s Kids Duathalon. At the urging of their daughter, Athena, a patient a Shriners Hospital, they expanded the race to include an “Epic Challenge Division” for those with physical challenges. Athena previously participated in the Duathalon. While Athena finished the race, she came in last and asked her parents to add a division for kids like her. The Johnsons ran with Athena’s suggestion and took it a step further by designating Shriners Hospitals for Children as the beneficiary of all event proceeds.
Clearly, those participating in the race will enjoy benefits for years to come. The headline in an article that appears in the Oct. 19 Sacramento Bee reads Shriners Kids Soar in ‘Epic Challenge’. That pretty much says it all.