2014 is a special year for the North Texas Team In Training (TNT) campaign. It is celebrating 20 years of running, biking, and hiking to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and it's mission to find a cure for blood cancers. Saturday, Feburary 8th TNT will kick off a year of celebrating. To honor the thousands of North Texas TNT alumni and the millions of dollars they raised in that time, we are going to count down each year of the program leading up to the TNT Alumni "Celebrate You" event on Feburary 8th.
In 1998, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) secured its first significant partnership for the new Team In Training program. It joined forces with Elite Racing and created the Rock'N'Roll Marathon in San Diego to benefit LLS. North Texas sent a team that first year and has been a consistent supporter of that race ever since. Megan Rouse, former NTX Team In Training staff member and long-time TNT participant, has participated in the Rock'N'Roll Marathon in San Diego.
What is your favorite memory of TNT?
I really don’t think I can pin point a favorite over these years, but here are a top few in no particular order:
1. Crossing the finish line with my mom at her very first marathon in memory of my dad
2. Reading surprise notes from family and friends on race day morning
3. Drinking from a tequila bottle at the end of every cycle event
4. Swimming with sea turtles during my tri in Hawaii
5. Running in Alaska in memory of my dad on Father’s Day
6. Pancakes in the parking lot and the gallons of chocolate milk I have consumed over the years.
7. Rick Heard saving my life with peanut butter pretzels in Disney
8. Every Inspirational Dinner I have ever attended.
9. FINALLY MAKING THE BROCHURE!
10. All the friends and “family” I have made along this crazy journey
What brought you to TNT originally?
Funny/long story, but I will shorten it for you. Oprah was involved, my passion to carry out my dad’s legacy and a purple brochure I got in the mail. Not to mention the passion/persuasion of Anna Love, Yvette Dye and Sarah Sherman at my informational meeting.
What about TNT makes you keep coming back?
The mission and the people. Chemotherapy, which was researched and developed by LLS, gave me six years that I never would have had with my dad. I have vowed since my first event to keep my feet moving until we have a cure, so no other little girl has to ever wonder who will walk her down the aisle one day. Through TNT I have also met my “second family” to include some of my best friends, countless “moms” and at one point the love of my life. I can’t imagine my life without my TNT family.
What do you want to see in the next 20 years for TNT in North Texas?
I would love for our Chapter to do an Ironman in the next few years, but to be honest, I hope the North Texas Chapter isn’t around in 20 years because we have found a cure and they are out of business. Someday is today!
What was the best part of the Rock'N'Roll San Diego?
In 2008 I completed the RNR San Antonio Marathon, King’s Trail Triathlon and the Nike Women’s Marathon. I have to say the best part was crossing the finish line with my mom at Nike. It was her first (and last) full marathon and she simply did it because she believes in me and my passion to help save lives.
How many events have you done with TNT?
Rock'N' Roll San Antonio - 2008, 2009
America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride - 2009
Nike Women's Marathon - 2008, 2009
El Tour de Tucson Century - 2009
Rock'N'Roll San Diego - 2010, 2013
King's Trail Triathlon - 2008
Mayor's Marathon - 2009
Redman Triathlon - 2011
Viva Bike Vegas - 2012
Bank of America Chicago Marathon - 2012