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TODAY news for Thursday, May 25, 2006

Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center news

Annual triathlon draws elite and disabled athletes as well as kids

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and its Big Bear Mountain Water Company are recognized at the triathlon for their $100,000 contribution to support the PossAbilities program. Please turn to page 16 for more photos of the triathlon.
They’re not quite ready for the Olympics yet, but 5-year-old quadruplets Sydney, Andie, Nikki, and Neal Nelson were no less excited as they stood at the starting line, ready to participate in their first triathlon. They were among more than 800 athletes—from world-class competitors to kindergartners—who took part in the PossAbilities triathlon, 5K and 10K events, kids triathlon, and tiny tots tricycle triathlon held in Loma Linda on April 29. 

The annual event is organized and conducted by Loma Linda University Medical Center’s PossAbilities program.  A total of $7,000 in prize money was awarded to top finishers in this year’s events.

At least 175 volunteers, including groups from Colton High School, San Bernardino Valley College, and East Campus Hospital of Loma Linda University Medical Center provided logistical support, most arriving by 5:00 a.m. in preparation for the 7:10 a.m. start time.

First on the course were wheelchair athletes, including eight members of the Crown rugby team and 10 members of the Rolling Bears basketball team, which recently placed sixth in the nation in Division 3 wheelchair basketball at a national tournament he
Kids Triathlon
Children participating in the Kids Triathlon take off at the officials’ signal.
ld in Chicago. Both teams are part of the adaptive recreation program of PossAbilities, a recreational and social organization for those with permanent disabilities run by Loma Linda University Medical Center East Campus. 

Five minutes later, the starting horn sounded for the running events. Triathletes ran a 5K (3.1 mile) course, biked 10.5 miles, and swam 150 yards. 5K and 10K runners raced the same road course through the streets of Loma Linda which began and ended at  Drayson Center on the Loma Linda University campus.

The kids triathlon took off at 8:30 a.m. by age group, starting with participants in the 11 to 12 year-old group. The kids course included a 300-yard run, an 800-yard bicycle course, and a 25-yard swim. Each participant, regardless of time or event, received a teeshirt and medal.

First across in the athletes with disabilities division was Akian Aleong, a double leg amputee, who completed the course in 1:00:33. Jason Stomp won the men’s division in the triathlon, with a time of 50:56. Women’s winner Samantha McGlone completed the course in 54:32. She competed in the Olympic triathlon in 2004, representing Canada.

Willie Stewart, an elite ath
Akian Aleong
Akian Aleong won the disabled athletes division of the triathlon with a time of 1 hour and 33 seconds.
lete who serves as coordinator for the PossAbilites program, says that the Loma Linda event “takes away all excuses—there’s something everyone can do.” 

Terry, Lee, and Cody Schrank, who drove up from Murrieta for the event, would agree. Lee started training for triathlons two years ago and has competed in 10 or more races. Loma Linda was the first triathlon for son, Cody, age 10. Why did he do it?  “Because my dad does,” Cody replied.

Event participants ranged in age from 4 to 84. Gerald Scott, 81, was a triathlon finisher. A World War II veteran of the British Merchant Navy, Mr. Scott bench presses 135 pounds and is a reminder that age is not a barrier to fitness.

The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and its Big Bear Mountain Water company is the major sponsor of the PossAbilities program.

Its $100,000 annual support makes possible recreational and social programming for those with permanent disabilities and life-enhancement scholarships.

Toyota of Redlands was the presenting sponsor of the event.  Inland Empire Health Plan sponsored the 5K run. Fiesta Village sponsored the kids triathlon and the tiny tots tricycle triathlon.

By Marilyn Thomsen

Rudy Garcia-Tolsen
Rudy Garcia-Tolsen closes in on the finish line of the running portion of the triathlon on legs made by Mike Davidson, CPO, from the orthotics and prosthetics department at LLUMC East Campus.
Gerald Scott
WWII veteran Gerald Scott, 81, displays his triathlon medal after completing the race on Sunday morning.
Renatta Osterdock, MD
Renatta Osterdock, MD, pediatric neurosurgeon for LLUCH, can still smile after completing the PossAbilities Triathlon on Sunday, April 30.
Triathlon winners
J. Lynn Martell, DMin, special assistant to the LLUAHSC president (left); Leslie N. Pollard, DMin (center), vice president for diversity, LLUAHSC; and Albin Grohar, PhD, executive director of advancement for LLU, took third place in the triathlon.

TODAY news for Thursday, May 25, 2006