The triathlon will begin with a 2.8-mile run at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26. Photo submitted

Third annual Courage Triathlon approaching

The third annual Courage Triathlon will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26 around Lake Almanor with starting and finishing lines at the Plumas Pines Resort in Canyon Dam, California.

The event will follow the same course as previous years with a 2.8-mile run, 7.1-mile bike ride and a 4.1-mile kayak or paddleboard course.

The triathlon is a fundraiser used as a benefit for Courage House, a Courage Worldwide organization that builds homes for girls rescued out of sex trafficking.Due to changed laws in the state of California that have changed the capability of providing services to victims directly, 100 percent of this year’s proceeds will be used to provide training and services to help end the crime of human trafficking.

More than 100 community members attended the 2017 triathlon. Here we can see the competition on the water after athletes transferred from the biking event to kayaking. Photo by Ashley Grogan

Courage Worldwide was founded by Jenny Williamson, a business leader, social entrepreneur, published author, community volunteer and motivational speaker. Williamson sparked the passion to end child sex trafficking throughout California, and the flame is spreading throughout the nation.

While Williamson started a movement statewide, it was local Courage ambassador Dawn Hershberger who initiated the Northern California division of Courage Worldwide.

Hershberger brought the passionate fight home after hearing about the unfortunate epidemic during a 2014 presentation from Williamson in Roseville. From there, she spoke with friends, coworkers and community members to find a way to make a difference.

Along with the current Triathlon Coordinator Joanne Vice, the initial fundraiser in Lassen County was a 2014 run-walk-bike event from the bottom of Janesville Grade to Antelope Lake. The crowd of more than 40 participants gave Hershberger and Vice the reassurance needed to continue fighting.

In 2015, the first triathlon was held a Lake Almanor. California Correctional Center Captain Randy Hewitt and Bizz Running Company founder Linda Powell joined Hershberger and Vice to organize and execute an extremely successful event that saw 97 participants.

The last leg of the triathlon is a 4.1-mile kayak or paddleboard course that brings athletes from the South Group Campground to the finish line behind the Plumas Pines Resort. Photo by Ashley Grogan

The 2016 triathlon saw 107 individuals and 35 teams take on the course.

Regarding the upcoming triathlon, Hershberger commented, “The third annual triathlon is for sure to be bigger and better! It amazes me how many help sponsor, volunteer and act to make this event spectacular!”

This year’s triathlon will see a special participant appearance with Williamson eager to run, bike and kayak for the benefit of child sex trafficking victims.

According to Hershberger, Williamson wants to thank everyone in Lassen and Plumas County for the incredible efforts seen in the past years to make a difference in the communities.

The 2017 triathlon has already seen a great amount of effort and dedication. Hershberger said, “Joanne Vice has worked hard all year making changes to help the event flow and function even better than the years prior.

“Captain Randy Hewitt has continually inspired and built a team of volunteers to facilitate the triathlon smoothly and efficiently.

“Bizz Running Company’s Linda Powell will be completing the timing aspect of the triathlon. Her abilities and knowledge have taken the triathlon to a professional level for both strong competitors and those completing just for fun.”

The triathlon will be opened with an invocation from Pastor Darrin Hogan from Honey Lake Assembly of God.

Doug Cain will be at the event as the returning disc jockey to motivate and entertain all competitors and supportive observers.

The Honor Guard from High Desert State Prison and California Correctional Center will be posting the colors at the event.

In addition to the many individuals and businesses that have sponsored and supported the triathlon, Courage Worldwide has also received support from individuals currently incarcerated.

Hershberger said, “Courage Worldwide will be selling art from a group of inmates that are passionate to help victims of human trafficking.”

While the triathlon will be a challenge to many regardless as to outside influences, the Courage Ambassadors organizing the triathlon have also established a Law Enforcement Challenge that reads, “If you are a member of a law enforcement or public service agency, register your agency to be a part of our Law Enforcement Challenge.” More details about the challenge can be found at couragerun.org/triathlon.

Hershberger finished with a call to action for those passionate against child sex trafficking. She said, “You will not want to miss this event! Fun for all ages and you are standing up to help end human trafficking. You need to come see this for yourself to see the level of passion, abilities, triumphs and commitment.”

More information about the Courage Triathlon or Courage Worldwide can be found by visiting the Courage Triathlon, Lake Almanor Facebook page or atcouragerun/triathlon.org.

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