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.
Brian Brode came to Team in Training in 2006 because of a personal connection to blood cancers but has stayed involved because of what the TEAM has come to mean to him. He talks about his memories of TNT and what he wants for the future of the program.
What is your favorite memory of TNT?
My favorite memory of is something that happens during every race when I wear the Team in Training uniform; the spectators shouting, “Go TEAM!” and high-fiving me as I go by. Their enthusiasm and support kept me motivated to race my best. Oh, by the way, people cheer when it’s not a race too. The TNT colors and mission are so well known and respected you’re rarely alone when training or racing.
What brought you to TNT originally?
I had just began my interest in triathlon when a beloved uncle was diagnosed with a type of blood cancer. I wanted to support him and my aunt in a meaningful way. During his last few months of life, he and I would speak weekly about my training and fundraising. He said our talks helped him though the hardest of days of treatment. After completing my first TNT triathlon, I sent him my finisher’s medal. He died a few weeks later, medal by his side.
What about TNT makes you keep coming back?
The people. From the national Leukemia & Lymphoma Society staff to the local chapter leaders, from the most experienced coaches and mentors to the newest fundraising teammates, you’d be challenged to find a more supportive and caring organization committed to seeing the athlete become a success. Becoming a TNT athlete is one of the few life opportunities where you can do a good thing for yourself while doing a great thing for someone else.
What do you want to see in the next 20 years for TNT in North Texas?
I would like TNT to be so successful it would need to find another cause to support and battle to fight. My prayer is for a cure for blood cancers and lymphomas to be found. Then there will never again be a need to race to end the suffering.
How many events have you done with TNT?
I have raced six events for TNT, including two half-Ironman races in St. Croix and a half-marathon in Austin, Texas. I’m sure I’ll complete a century ride and earn the Triple Crown.