Girls from Springs, Montauk encouraged to "tri"

Itri girls Kattie Fragol, left, and Sara Naverez

Itri girls Kattie Fragol, left, and Sara Naverez finish the bike portion of the Maidstone Park Youth Triathlon in East Hampton. (July, 2012) (Credit: Theresa Rhoden)

On Sunday, 50 girls from Springs and Montauk will rise early and head to Maidstone Park in Springs to take part in a special 8 a.m. triathlon, something they have trained for since February.

They should have no problem completing the race, having all passed a run-through on Wednesday.

It's the fourth annual itri (pronounced "I try") competition, a program that started with six girls in the Springs school district and has expanded to Montauk. It's open to anyone ages 10 to 17, and about 20 students from other districts are expected to take part in the race.

Students picked by the Montauk and Springs schools for the free itri program get 200 hours of training, including exercise and self-esteem classes, learning to deal with a wide variety of issues. On Saturday, all 50 will get a re-evaluation at the East Hampton YMCA, with coaches checking their progress since February. They will also take a standardized Rosenbegh self-esteem evaluation test.

"They train from February to July," said Theresa Roden, founder and director of the Maidstone Park Youth Triathlon. She said children are selected by their schools for a wide range of reasons, from being able to benefit from the exercises or because they may have to deal with self-esteem or family issues, such as the death of a parent.

The triathlon involves a 300-yard open water swim, a 7-mile bike ride and a 1.5-mile run.

"At this point, every girl will cross the finish line," Roden said. "I had one who couldn't swim a lap in the pool in February, and two 12-year-olds who never rode a bike before. . . . There's been huge growth in so many of them."

The program is free and supported by local fundraising. Other East End students can also register for the race for $40. After the race, local salons will donate their services to do the girls' hair and makeup, and they will get their pictures taken at St. Luke's church hall in East Hampton.

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