Professional and amateur athletes are invited to “toe the line” at Boyne City’s first triathlon Sunday morning.
The event will start at 8 a.m. Sunday at Peninsula Beach with proceeds will benefit the Department of Neurology at Mayo Clinic. The event is sponsored by Team Lucky Seven,
One morning in February of 2012, upon standing he got light-headed and had hand tremors — symptoms reminiscent of when years earlier after he was diagnosed with viral meningitis.
This time, he knew it was something more.
Swartz traveled to Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minn., where tests, consultations with neurologists, brain scans and a brain biopsy helped doctors conclude that he had, Chronic Microglial Encephalomyelitis.
Swartz is one of seven people diagnosed in the United States. It causes swelling of nerves, which then causes the body to shutdown system after system. The avid runner went from participating in as many as 14 races in one year, to being confined to a walker for three months.
“I came back home April 4 and was treated with steroids and immune suppressors,” he said. “For one hour a day, for a week straight, I was pumped with steroids, which caused me to not sleep.”
During that period of insomnia, Swartz felt the need to take action.
“I thought about how lucky I was and that I’m able to be treated,” he said. “I needed to do something, that’s where Team Lucky Seven got started.”
Swartz and his wife of 11 years, Danielle, are both active in the running and cycling community and they wanted to bring that energy to Boyne.
“It’s definitely a scary process,” she said. “It’s like you’re on a roller-coaster, but he is eternally optimistic. You just have to take your situation and run with it, literally.”
Swartz said there is a three-prong approach for Team Lucky Seven, a non-profit to raise money — a directly-sponsored event, sponsor athletes and accept direct donations.”
Athletes will start with swimming 1.5K, biking 40K along the coastline, then running 10K through town, people can also take part in a duathalon if they don’t want to swim.
Swartz said that 150 people have registered, they expect about 50 competitors more on the day of the race, and 40 people are volunteering. The equipment used for the race will be donated by TriToFinish, a professional Michigan running race company.
January of this year there was still swelling and he received another round of treatment and he’s slowly started to run again.
“Am I out of this yet? No, but it’s not about looking backwards,” he said. “Your perspective on life changes and you have to think about what good can come from this. We’ve got runners that are professional and amateurs, between the ages of 12 and 65. Everyone’s got a journey that brought them there, that’s to be celebrated.”
Boyne City's first triathlon to take place this Sunday
Rob and Danielle Swartz of Boyne City, created Boyne City's first triathalon.