by Anne Statton, PACPI Executive Director
This year, for my birthday, I decided to give myself the gift of triathlon. Sounds funny, I know. I really enjoy competing against myself and with my friends and family.
I come from a swimming background. As a kid, I swam and competed in events with my sisters. One of my sisters, Laurie, was recruited to Kenyon College on a swimming scholarship. Another sister, Amy, is a coach of the Evanston Masters team. Sister Kersti continues to swim and encourages her lovely daughters to swim and they often rank high enough to compete in regionals and state championships.
My mother was the first woman referee with Illinois Swimming and when she passed away, TOPS (The Oak Park Swimmers team) put together a memorial swim meet in her honor, the Claire Statton Memorial Invitational. That meet is so popular that it can no longer be held at Oak Park High School and it’s now held at the University of Illinois at Chicago each January. Teams raise money to compete in the meet and the funds help pay swim fees for their own team members who need assistance. In 2009, my nieces swam for the first time in their grandmother’s swim meet and the local paper, the Oak Leaves, wrote an article on them and the family. It’s such a terrific legacy to have a swim meet named after my mother. My sisters and often consider ourselves “Illinois swimming royalty” because of it!
About five years ago, in January 2010, I accepted a challenge to join a group that would train for 12 weeks and complete an indoor triathlon at the end of the training. I felt it would help me to get active again, and as long as swimming was involved, I could do it! I went to almost every single training session. The amazing coaches (Scott Hutmacher and Chris Navin) helped adjust the workouts to my ability – basically I can’t run because my knees can’t take the pounding. The training was HARD.