Two island women ‘tri’ for a good cause

Sundance Rogers (pictured) and Karen Klein are taking part in the Danskin Triathlon this Sunday in Seattle. The event, now in its 18th year, raises funds for breast cancer research. - Brad Camp/Staff Photo
Sundance Rogers (pictured) and Karen Klein are taking part in the Danskin Triathlon this Sunday in Seattle. The event, now in its 18th year, raises funds for breast cancer research.
— image credit: Brad Camp/Staff Photo

Karen Klein, Sundance Rogers take part in Danskin Sunday.

Two women are taking part in an event where everyone is a winner.

Karen Klein and Sundance Rogers are competing in the Danskin Triathlon Sunday in Seattle at Genesee Park and Lake Washington.

It comprises of a half-mile swim around the lake, a 12-mile bike event around Lake Washington and I-90 and a three-mile run around Genesee Park.

Now in its 18th year of existence, the event makes stops in eight different cities around the United States from May to September.

This year marks the 15th annual stop in Seattle as over 5,000 women, ages 14 to 74, take part in the event.

The triathlon is a fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and raised over $150,000 last year.

Klein, who works as a corporate generalist attorney and general counsel for a internet start-up, is taking part in her first Danskin – she missed last year’s despite registering because she was helping her son move to college.

She’s doing so thanks to her involvement with the Kitsap Tri-Turtles, a local group that trains for triathlons together bound by their motto “Complete not Compete.”

“I like to exercise and be athletic, but it’s the support and empowerment of women” that she likes, she said. “We get a chance to build camaraderie through training.”

Klein, who is turning 50 this year, said she’s taking part as a challenge to herself that she can still compete at her age.

“It’s a sense of accomplishment to know that you can do something (like this) when you have the support” of others, she said.

“It’s something that’s (working) toward the empowerment of women and we’re working for this cause for cancer, but it’s also a chance to prove to yourself that you can accomplish something that seems insurmountable.”

Klein will also draw inspiration from team founder Lisa Ballou, who is racing in the triathlon after recently losing her mother to pancreatic cancer.

“She’s just an amazingly strong woman who would send us e-mails of encouragement” even while she was gone, Klein said.

Rogers, who works as a internal medicine physician at the Virginia Mason Clinic and has done so for the past 14 years, is taking part in her second Danskin with several co-workers.

She got involved three years ago thanks to a fitness instructor at what was previously the Pavilion Gym, who asked if anyone wanted to take part in the triathlon with her.

“She had never done it before,” Rogers said. “So there was a big group of us that went out and did it.”

After missing last year’s, she made the decision to participate in this year’s after talking with her co-workers about several patients that were newly diagnosed with breast cancer.

“We thought, what’s a better way to support the community, to support our patients and try to ‘walk the talk?’” she said. “I spend half my day telling people about how they should exercise and eat right and this is a good way of showing everybody that we were doing it.”

It’s gotten a lot of interest from people – Rogers said of all the questions they get from their bios that are posted on the wall, the most are about the triathlon – and it’s helped Rogers get back into shape after taking time off to have her two kids, who also take part in triathlons geared towards kids.

Rogers said participating in the event itself is an emotional day for everyone involved.

“If anyone ever takes the time to go to the race, it’s incredible,” she said. “The first three or four waves of women (that finish) are all breast cancer survivors,” she said. “There are women in their seventies that are doing this and can barely finish the race.”

Rogers and Klein are also participating in the Tri Turtle Tri triathlon at 8 a.m. Sept. 9 at Wildcat Lake Park in Seabeck.

The event – a half-mile swim, a 15 mile bike ride and a 3.2 mile run, is to benefit the Kitsap County Medical Society Foundation’s campaign to fight childhood obesity.

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