Two mothers of I-Tri girls have become so inspired by the changes they’ve seen in their adolescent daughters as the result of having joined the triathletic mentoring program now in its fourth year that they’ve decided to train together when they can for I-Tri’s chief fund-raiser, the ‘Turbo Tri’ for adults, that’s to be held at Maidstone Park in Springs on June 15.
The above-mentioned mothers and daughters are Noemi Sanchez and Noely Martinez, a Springs School eighth-grader who’s in her third year with I-Tri, and Alissa and Kaya Mulligan, a Springs seventh-grader who is in her first year with I-Tri and especially likes its self-esteem workshops.
Mulligan, a 13th-generation Bonacker — “my great-grandmother on my father’s side was a Bennett” — grew up in Springs, and is now back there following a fire in the fall of 2011 that destroyed the house she and her family were renting in Montauk.
“I remember that day well,” said the mother of three. “We were at my mother-in-law’s funeral, Kaya read the eulogy, and we returned to find the house burnt to the ground. . . . The good news is that we weren’t there at the time. They’re still investigating what caused it.”
As for I-Tri and the good it does for adolescent girls, Mulligan said, “Theresa [Roden, the founder] has been an absolute blessing, not only for Kaya, but for everyone. It’s not fun to be 13. The preteen and teen years are very hard, in just about every way. I wish I’d had I-Tri when I was that age. It should go viral, nationwide. Kaya’s learning things now that took me 20 years to learn! How to take negative things and turn them into positive things, for instance.”
Kaya said in reply to a question that she probably would not have participated in sports had it not been for I-Tri. Friends, she said — Jordyn LaCarrubba in particular — had encouraged her to join. As a result, she said, she felt stronger physically and emotionally.
“The idea is to empower them,” I-Tri’s founder, Theresa Roden, has said concerning I-Tri’s mission.
When asked about her training — the Turbo Tri uses the same course as July’s Youth Triathlon, which is to say it comprises a 300-yard bay swim, a 7-mile bicycle leg, and a 1.5-mile run — Mulligan said, with a smile, “I get in plenty of running as a nanny. I’m thinking of running to and from work, which is about a two-mile loop. . . . I know I can do the swim . . . though I am a little worried about the bike leg.”
The problem for Mulligan and for Sanchez, a native of Mexico who, like Mulligan, is the mother of three, is finding the time to train, for they each work a lot.
“It’s pretty much fun,” said Noely, when asked for her reaction to I-Tri. She would, she said, probably not have done as many sports as she does now without the program.
“She would have done basketball,” said Sharon McCobb, one of I-Tri’s experienced trainers, who’d been listening in to the interview, which took place Saturday afternoon at the Y.M.C.A. East Hampton RECenter. “She’s a great point guard.”
Sanchez, when asked if she’d been athletic, replied in the negative. “Yes, but she’s a great salsa dancer!” said McCobb, who’s seen the Xoxhipilly traditional Mexican dance group, to which Sanchez belongs, perform. Xoxhipilly is to give a performance at the Springs School tomorrow evening, as a matter of fact.
“I don’t know how to swim,” volunteered Sanchez, “though I think I can do it,” she added, looking over at McCobb, who, along with Annette MacNiven and Amanda Husslein, teaches I-Tri swimmers.
“I do like sports,” said Sanchez, the victim some years ago of a severe domestic abuse injury that Noely witnessed, “though there’s not much time.”
Nevertheless, she said, she ran an almost-three-mile loop in Springs rather regularly, and, consequently, was feeling stronger.
Mulligan said she was doing the Turbo Tri “in honor of Kaya,” and both daughters said they were proud of their mothers for giving the Turbo Tri a try. As they parted, Sanchez and Mulligan said they’d try to get together to train, and Noely and Kaya said they’ll be there on race day to cheer their moms on.