“It’s a great way to kick off the summer,” Molly Crossen said.
The Fourth Annual Sawyer Crossen Triathlon is scheduled for Saturday, June 1, at 8 a.m. at the Monona Outdoor Pool and Winnequah Park.
The event features a triathlon for up to 500 school-aged children ranging from 4-17. The distances are age appropriate, and volunteers are at each portion of the race to assist children in any way they need.
Molly and PJ Crossen organized the triathlon in memory of their son, Sawyer. The event raises money for a three-part scholarship in Sawyer’s name. A portion of the proceeds are donated to the teachers at Winnequah School in the grade level in which Sawyer would be in; another portion is donated to the Monona Parks and Recreation Department; and the third portion is placed into a scholarship program that will be given to a student or students graduating in the year 2024 to help pay for college.
Up to this date, the triathlon has raised money for an art table, video equipment, Nexus books, a memorial stone for the kindergarten tree, and a free little library at Winnequah School; snowshoes, peewee soccer nets, and mats for the multi-community wrestling program for the Parks and Recreation Department.
“We always want to give something permanent [to the school],” Molly said. The Little Free Library is unique in that the first grade students selected that project, and will each have a little of their artistic talents showcased on the structure.
The donations are possible due to the success of the event. Last year’s triathlon saw 224 participants and Molly said they hope to have 300 this year.
“It’s a very family-oriented event,” Molly said. “It’s exciting to see the kids cross the finish line and push themselves. It makes you feel good about the community. For us, it means so much.”
At least 100 volunteers make the day run smoothly, and PJ and Molly said they will take as many volunteers as they can get. Those interested in volunteering may sign up online at sawyerstri.squarespace.com or mymonona.com/pages/parks_recreation.
“It’s just the coolest event. It’s all fun,” Molly said.
Music at the finish line will be provided by the UW Marching Band. Bucky Badger, Maynard Mallard and the MG Silver Eagle will be present for a few mascot races and to help cheer on the participants.
This year, there is a silent auction with several items up for bid, including homemade hors d’oeuvres by the Monona Fire Department and a ride in the classic fire truck.
“It’s a fun event for the whole community,” PJ Crossen said. “It’s a community building event, and it helps kids overall. It inspires them to go on in swimming or running or biking.”