The first program of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic, triathlon courses offered to elementary, middle and high school P.E. programs throughout Howard County, Md.
TriColumbia, the Mid-Atlantic’s premier endurance event production company, today announced a partnership with the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) to implement elementary, middle and high school triathlon instruction during physical education courses in an effort to educate students on the experience and lifestyle benefits of triathlon. The partnership was formalized with an official signing on September 28 at Wilde Lake Middle School in Columbia, Md.
The first program of its kind in the Mid-Atlantic, TriColumbia will collaborate with physical education instructors to pilot a triathlon (swim, bike, run) program for fourth grade students at Hammond and Talbott Springs elementary schools, sixth grade students at Burleigh Manor and Wilde Lake middle schools, and ninth grade students at Glenelg and Long Reach high schools. HCPSS will provide instructional assistance in swimming, cycling and running, as well as necessary equipment and transportation.
“The HCPSS partnership with TriColumbia provides a new opportunity for our students to be active in a fun and exciting way,” said Mary Schiller of the HCPSS Partnerships Office. “Students will learn that the sport of triathlon welcomes athletes of all abilities; that it is as much about embracing a healthy lifestyle and having a can-do attitude as it is about the finish line.”
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Maryland’s state obesity rate was close to 25 percent in 2010, about a quarter of Maryland residents. Furthermore, across the United States, only 3.8 percent of elementary schools, 7.9 percent of middle schools and 2.1 percent of high schools provide daily physical education or its equivalent for the entire school year. Twenty-two percent of schools do not require students to take any physical education at all. It has been proven that regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, and increases self-esteem, all goals of this triathlon instruction program.
“Our goal is for students to develop the skills, knowledge and confidence to carry on when they leave Howard County Public Schools,” said Jackie French, Instructional Facilitator of Physical Education for HCPS. “This unique program further contributes to that goal by providing a foundation for youth to build an active lifestyle that will last a lifetime.”
Each program will be designed appropriately for the students’ ages and fitness levels, and modifications will be made as needed to ensure that all students, including those with disabilities, are able to participate successfully. TriColumbia will also sponsor 25 scholarships for age-appropriate triathlons, to be awarded by P.E. instructors to students at each participating school.
“Having the opportunity to work with the Howard County Public School System to educate students on the benefits of healthy lifestyles through triathlon is a tremendous honor for TriColumbia,” said Robert Vigorito, President and founder of TriColumbia. “It has always been a dream of mine to give back to the community and to educate our youth and I would like to thank HCPSS as well as our sponsors for making this possible.”
Sponsors of the pilot program include Howard County General Hospital, The Horizon Foundation and McDonalds Family Restaurants of Greater Baltimore.