The Camp Courageous Sprint Triathlon occupies a special place in the hearts of the athletes who participate each year. From the elites who race the entire Heart of America Series to the recreational athletes who only do one race a year, everyone feels good about this event that supports the special needs campers served by Camp Courageous.
August 4th was just about a perfect day weather-wise, which added to the good spirits as nearly 200 participants hit the water. The course in southeast Cedar Rapids is flat and fast. Adam Kassem and Joanna Hall leapt out of the water and never looked back. Joanna three-peated, notching her third Camp Courageous win in a row with a 1:11:21. Adam’s 1:06:20 was his second series win of 2019, as he opened the season with a victory at TriByKnight.
Watch Adam and Joanna’s comments on the race on the Heart of America Facebook Page.
But the biggest cheers were reserved for Christopher Marner. A Camp participant since 2009, Christopher has been beating the odds since he suffered a brain injury as a toddler, and his parents were told he might never see, hear, or even smile again. Instead, Christopher has both his sight and hearing, and smiles as he walks and bikes all over his hometown of Washington, Iowa.
Christopher has swum for teams at the Camp Courageous tri in the past, but this year, with the encouragement of race director Nick Gearhart, he took up the challenge of doing al, three legs.
Despite a spill on the bike that nearly ended his race, Christopher finished strong, and thrilled everyone as he crossed the finish line. To no one’s surprise, Christopher won the annual Spirit Award, given to a race participant who best embodies the values of Camp Courageous.
Camp Courageous campers and volunteers handed out individually-painted finish medallions, crafted by campers, to each finisher, guaranteeing that each participant would remember they were racing not just for a time, but for a cause.