The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 22, 2013

Fjelstad: Triathlon to raise funds for no-kill animal shelter

By Robin Fjelstad

NEOSHO, Mo. — “If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”

—James Herriot, British veterinarian and author

Faithful Friends Animal Advocates has organized the inaugural Neosho Sprint Triathlon in conjunction with Freeman Health System and Prime Care Family Medicine. The event will be held in Neosho on Saturday, March 30.

Competition includes a 300-yard indoor pool swim, a 13.5-mile bike ride and a 3.1-mile run. Competition is for individuals and teams of two or three members. Awards will be presented in multiple age and gender categories. The race is sanctioned by USA Triathlon and will take place at the Freeman Neosho Family YMCA, 4701 Choteau St., near Crowder College.

All participants must be preregistered. Early registration, which began in January, ends today. Registration fees increase to $55 for an individual who plans to do the entire event or $50 for each member of a team entry. This sanctioned race requires that each participant be a member of USAT. For those who are not current members, there is a one-event membership fee of $12 for each person. Rules and additional registration information can be obtained on the event website at

“We have participants from six states registered, from as far away as Omaha, Neb., and Charlotte, N.C.,” said John Dolence, event coordinator.

The final registration opportunity and packet pick-up will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Neosho Freeman YMCA. Runners must pick up their packets in person. A first-timer’s clinic will be held at the YMCA on Friday at 5:30 p.m. This meeting will help clarify, for the novice, the basics of triathlon competition. Packet pick-up resumes at 6 a.m. Saturday. The race starts at 8 a.m. and the course closes at noon.

Faithful Friends will have pets available for adoption at the event. There will be additional activities for participants’ families and other supporters.

The YMCA, at 10 a.m., will serve as host for “Breakfast with the Bunny.” The event for children will cost $1 per person for muffin, fruit, juice or milk. As part of the activities, Crowder College will sponsor a free Easter egg hunt for age groups from infant to 8 years old. Children should bring their own baskets for the hunt.

Dolence said the sprint triathlon is great for athletes coming out of winter training to test the effectiveness of their training, but also good for the novice because the events are short and it is a great opportunity to compete in a multisport event. The goal is for everyone to have a good time and support a great cause.

Faithful Friends Animal Advocates Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to helping the community become a place where animals are treated with kindness and respect. The goal is to build a no-kill animal rescue and adoption center for the Neosho community in order to benefit the abused, abandoned and neglected domestic animals in our community.

Robin Fjelstad lives in Goodman. She is a communications major at Missouri Southern State University and recipient of the Rebekah Hughes scholarship. In conjunction with the scholarship, she is an intern for The Joplin Globe.