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In her 20s, when Teresa Roberts worked at a dental office, her co-workers talked her into joining a marathon — even though she had never competed or even trained for doing such a thing.
“Being the type of person I was, I agreed to do it,” said Roberts, noting that the marathon was only a week away.
“Although I finished the 10K in 63 minutes, I couldn’t walk after the marathon, and I declared I would never run again,” she said, of how sore and miserable she felt after taking on the challenge.
However, that was the beginning of the story of how Roberts became passionate about fitness.
Roberts is a personal trainer at the Wellness Center of the Twin County Regional Healthcare, which will host the New River Duathlon on Aug. 20 along the New River Trail. The event starts at 9 a.m. from the Fries town park.
The New River Duathlon will begin with a 3.1-mile (five kilometer) run through Fries, followed by a 21-mile bike ride on the New River Trail. The duathlon ends by repeating the 3.1-mile run.
“When I agreed to the marathon, I just wanted to get in shape for tennis,” said Roberts. “But when they talked me into doing a second marathon, I trained for it and I found that I loved running so much that I dropped tennis.”
Participants will race to raise funds to aid TCRH Wellness Center rehab clients in their recovery, as well as other clients who have fitness needs. Proceeds are planned to fund new equipment, such as spin bikes.
The Wellness Center staff hopes to raise $7,000.
The Town of Fries will sell lunches to raise money for the Fries Parks and Recreation Department’s pool repairs.
“We’re hoping to have a healthier more fit Twin County area,” said Roberts. “I want to challenge people to be in the duathlon. With the health crisis, we change the world, but we can change our surroundings.”
She hopes the duathlon becomes an annual event “that will be a challenge for athletes of all abilities, including the serious athlete.”
Before Roberts moved to the area from Southern Pines, N.C., she participated for several years in the New River Trail Challenge Triathlon, which included biking, canoeing and running.
“It is the most beautiful area to train,” said Roberts. “I want to get people to utilize the local beauty, and there is so much to do here to get fit to truly enjoy the outdoors. I want to get people motivated and get them to appreciate what is here.”
Entry fee is $35 for individuals and $50 for teams. Awards will be provided for the first three places for individuals and teams in their age categories, as well as overall. T-shirts are also included in the entry free, and shirts for spectators and supporters will be available for purchase.
Register as soon as possible, and no later than Aug. 19, Roberts said. Corporate sponsors at all levels and volunteers are needed.
• For information or to register, contact Roberts or any TCRH Wellness Center staff member at 236-5931, visit tcrh.org or look up TCRH on Facebook.
People can also register at friesva.com, and forms are also available Chestnut Creek Coffee House in downtown Galax and at the trail heads of the New River Trail.
Anyone wanting to become a sponsor for the event can call the Wellness Center.