Meet the Founders of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club
Colleen Fossett, Michelle Powell,
Lydia DelRosso, and Maureen Brigham
It was a blustery, cold day during the winter of 2009. The wind was howling outside … destination: Blue Plate restaurant on Main Street in Mullica Hill. Michelle wanted me (Colleen) to meet her neighbor Lydia, someone who reminded her of me, and I wanted Michelle to meet Maureen, my neighbor, friend and fellow triathlete.
The four of us settled down at Blue Plate, sipped our coffee and the non-stop chatter began. Lydia discussed her philanthropy and marketing experience. Michelle, who recently completed her first triathlon, bubbled with newbie excitement. I brought my passion for triathlons laced with a need for control, and Maureen, the avid runner who also just completed her first tri, kept us all together with her voice of reason and sensibility. Our goal was to discuss the possibility of creating a triathlon club and raising money and awareness for a charity.
Our two topics of discussion that morning were the “Who” and the “What”.
Who? All female (this was determined within the first five minutes). Thinking back, I now realize we came to this decision because of our positive experiences competing in SheRox the previous year. It was so refreshing to be surround with estrogen vs testosterone. Women in. Men out. No offense. We needed a name, a slogan and a logo. NAME: Mullica Hill Women’s Triathlon Club (pretty simple, right?). SLOGAN: “No Nuts, Just Guts” (yes, we were concerned it was edgy, but we also thought it was catchy). LOGO: A wave, a bike and a sneaker (the first draft we got from our graphic artist was actually a squirrel holding two nuts which almost made us rethink our slogan). With a name, a logo, a Facebook page and the aspiration of a website, we were ready to roll.
What? What did we want to accomplish? Lydia wanted to raise money and awareness for a charitable organization, while Michelle, Maureen and I simply wanted other women to participate in SheRox with us that year. We were flying by the seat of our pants. The first year was very bare bones. No tri suits, no road bikes, no open water swims, no money. What we lacked in resources, we made up in passion and drive. Our charity was Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Lydia generated a loyal following. Word about our tri club spread quickly. It was being discussed on the soccer fields, after church and at Carolina Blue. We started with four members, and by August, 120 women had officially joined the club. Most of the members did SheRox that year, and for almost everyone it was their first triathlon! It lit a fire in all of us. We were determined to come back stronger the next year. Our minds were flooded with ideas … we could have sponsors, a calendar, educational symposiums, spirit wear, brick work outs, blogs. We might (and it was a big might) – we might even be able to host our own triathlon!
This year will mark the eighth year of the Mullica Hill Women’s Triathlon Club. In the past seven years, we have accomplished much. We have raised a significant amount of money for Autism Spectrum Disorder, The Ovarian Cancer Foundation and The Melanoma International Foundation and Bring Change to Mind, and we are now a 501(c)(3) organization raising money for our own causes. We will again host our own 5K and a triathlon, and we are adding several new races to the mix. Our outreach has expanded to young women with the addition of Girls on the Glow and Teen Tri. In this past year our club soared to over 900 women. Many of these women will not have been on a bike since they were 12 years old or laced up their sneakers in years. You will see them. They will be riding down Tomlin Station Road, filling up the lanes during adult swim and spreading the tri love on Facebook. You will overhear them talking in Shoprite or at a Pampered Chef demonstration. They will talk you into joining. You may even see Lydia, Maureen, Michelle and me sitting in Blue Plate having a cup of coffee – still friends and proud founders!