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.
Rebecca Holmes signed up for Team In Training before she had a direct connection to blood cancers. Not long after slipping on the purple singlet her son, Gage, was diagnosed with leukemia. All of a sudden the work and fundraising of TNT became that much more important to her. She talks about what it was like to honor Gage's strength during treatment with her TNT teammates.
What is your favorite memory of TNT?
My favorite TNT memory is crossing the finish line of Nation's Tri in Washington DC in 2010. I raced with a picture of my 7-year-old son Gage on my jersey. On race day, he had completed 1,199 days of chemotherapy and had only 5 more days to go until he finished his treatment for leukemia. And, I was able to celebrate that with my 33 other "Racing for Gage" teammates as we marked his milestone and the $175,000 that we had raised for the LLS at that event.
What brought you to TNT originally?
I originally came to TNT to do a race with my husband. He wanted to run a marathon; I wanted us to do a triathlon. He couldn't swim at all, but he signed up...and the rest is history!
What about TNT makes you keep coming back?
I have done TNT events before my son had cancer, while he was on treatment and since we've passed the "cure" milestone. I've signed up for races with just my husband, with both small and large groups of friends, and on my own. Every season of training and racing is memorable and meaningful in it's own way. I keep coming back because I love the personal discipline and accomplishment combined with making a difference for those fighting blood cancers.
What do you want to see in the next 20 years for TNT in North Texas?
In the next 20 years, I hope TNT continues to grow in both number of participants and ability to train athletes in a way comparable to the best running clubs, triathlon teams, etc.
What was the best part of the 2010 Nations Triathlon?
The best part of my Nation's Tri memories is the finish line! I had trained with each person for a season and watched their ups and downs...their fears and doubts...and their growing abilities and confidence. And, that day, they each raced with Gage's picture on their jersey. We spent a couple hours on a curb in DC, where our Texas group grew as each person finished the race…and changed from participant to cheerleader until each team member had crossed the finish line. Running in with our last “Racing for Gage” team member to the finish line was a moment I’ll never forget.
How many events have you done with TNT?
I've done 6 TNT events: 2004 Chicago Tri, 2008 Nation's Tri, 2010 Nation's Tri, 2010 Barb's Race / Vineman Tri, 2012 Austin 70.3 and 2013 Kerrville 70.3