What do you call women role models with bucket lists? Triathletes.
Black Women in Sport Foundation (BWSF), Coeur Sport, and USA Triathlon are proud to announce the awardees of its inaugural Power Up Triathlon Grant: Coached Training Grant. They are Jenice Armstrong, Lisa Suarez, and Rudesia Sutton. BWSF offered one-time training grants to novice and amateur Black women athletes interested in training for and participating in the 2021 Philadelphia Women’s Triathlon on July 11, 2021. The goal of this program is to support development of underrepresented athletes in the sport of triathlon.
The selection committee was spearheaded by Kimberly Glenn Jemmott and Margo Gregory for Coeur and Dr. Margaret Ottley and Dr. Sheila Ward for BWSF. Selected from a competitive pool of applicants, the awesome trio of grantees expressed excitement about training and competing in a triathlon. For a couple of them, this checks off an item on their bucket lists. The trio’s collective goals are to positively impact and empower others, and to encourage women and others to get active.
“My ultimate goal is to be a positive role model and to encourage women — particularly African Americans — about the importance of staying active, especially as they age,” Armstrong said.
“I will use the experience, and the gift of movement, to encourage as many of my friends and family as I can to set some goals and get moving!” Suarez said. “We can all do hard things!”
Sutton, a mother of 4, said that she is excited about “pushing new limits and showing my children you can do anything you set your mind to. This would be an amazing opportunity to put my body and mind to new limits and motivate women to be active and change what is the normal.”
Grantees receive one-on-one coaching, a generous package of resources such as triathlon gear, equipment, continuing education credits, and more, as well as access to triathlon training and support communities including Fairmount Bicycles Bike Shop, NE Philly Triathlon Team Tri/Bike Group, Folx and Spokes Phl Tri/Bike Group, The Big Heat Cycling Tri/Bike Group, Pedal Posse Divas Tri/Bike Group. All coaches and training groups will align with USA Triathlon COVID compliance. Gear and equipment brands include Ogio, USA Tri, Fuel Belt, Body Glide, Amp Human, Yankz!, ROKA, KT Tape, RudyProject, 2XU, TYR, Gatorade, Zone3, USAT/Triathlete, and Wahoo Fitness.
The grantees will be assigned to train with dynamic coaches Joy Miles, Megan White, and Colonel Yvonne Spencer. The coaches will prepare the grantees to compete and complete the Philly Women’s Triathlon on July. Bucket list goal attained — check!
About the coaches
Joy Miles started originally in the fields of association management and finance, but soon realized that fitness was her calling. She has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years. In addition to being an endurance coach, she is also an ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor as well as a Certified Pilates Trainer. She is a USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coach, RRCA Certified Running Coach, USMS Level 1& 2 Certified Coach and USA Track and Field Level I Certified Coach (in addition to many other endurance-related certifications!). This fall, she will be representing Team USA in aquathlon (swim/run) in Almere-Amsterdam. When she is not in the studio, she is either cooking amazing creations, creating Pilates content or you can find her on the weekends in the summer on the Lakefront Path running with her marathoners, leading a warm-up before a local race or walking the breakwall of the Chicago Trip in a tutu encouraging swimmers. Her fitness philosophy — “I meet you where you are at.”
Megan White is a NYC- based adult onset athlete who participated in her first triathlon over 10 years ago and almost immediately fell in love. Since then, she has completed many more at all distances, including 5 IM finishes. White works in arts philanthropy by day and is a USAT certified Level 1 triathlon coach. In 2012, she co-founded the All Women’s Tri Team with the mission to encourage more women -– particularly women of color -– to participate in the sport. Together with AWTT, she has since coached more than 70 women through their first triathlon experience over the past several years in distances from super sprint through Ironman distance.
Colonel Yvonne Spencer is an 8-time Ironman and long course FINISHER. She is a 2021 USA Long Course Triathlon Team Member and multiple year All-World Athlete. In addition to numerous triathlons in all distances, she’s an avid runner who has completed 14 marathons, including qualifying for the 2020 Boston Marathon. She started coaching in 2017 and is a USA Triathlon Level 1 Certified Coach and RRCA Certified Coach.
In a 27-year military career, Spencer has served in a variety of leadership positions and has commanded organizations ranging from 300 to 1,200 personnel. Despite living in five countries and relocating 14 times, triathlon has been a constant in her life. It has been key to her resiliency and work/life (IM)balance. In 2015, Spencer translated her leadership talents into building a supportive, and empowering network of women known as the Fast Chix. It is a National Women’s Triathlon Group that strives to remove barriers by empowering and educating women. Fast Chix provides a positive engagement, shared experiences, and a supportive environment for triathletes at all levels. Their efforts include annual race meetups, educational clinics, fitness panels, book clubs and monthly challenges. While the group is primarily women of color, to date, Fast Chix has over 1K online members.
Black Women in Sport Foundation(BWSF) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase the involvement of Black women and girls in all aspects of sport, including athletics, coaching and administration. For more information, go to: www.blackwomeninsport.org.
USA Triathlon’s mission is, “Tto grow, inspire and support the triathlon community.” USAT is proud to serve as the national governing body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multi sport organization in the world.
Coeur Sports’ mission is to build a community. They believe you can have it all: speed and style, performance and comfort, function and fashion. Their mission is to “make women’s triathlon, cycling, run and swim gear that feels so good, looks so good, and performs like whoa.”