Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones, an OB/GYN, saw women like herself in her Charlotte practice every day. As a wife and mother of three, she could easily relate to all the women devoted to jobs and families with little time for themselves.

Alyse wanted to improve her own health and balance her busy lifestyle. When she signed up for her first triathlon, it seemed crazy. Swim, bike, AND run—all in one day? Who does that?

Alyse discovered during her journey that spending a little more time on herself each day made her a better wife, mother, co-worker, and doctor. She wanted to help other women on their journey to getting healthy, gaining self-confidence and self-esteem, and building nurturing relationships.

In 2006, Alyse set out to find 100 women who had never done a triathlon. She convinced a group of friends to help “mentor” these women through 12 weeks of training. These first-time athletes and mentors trained together and crossed the finish line at the women’s only Ramblin’ Rose Sprint Triathlon in Huntersville, NC. Now known as the Ramblin’ 100, they too wanted to help more women complete this journey and Tri it For Life was born.

In 2008, Tri It For Life became a 501©3 nonprofit. Athletes and mentors from the Ramblin’ 100 came together to build Tri It For Life into the organization that it is today.

Tri It For Life is not a training group. It is not about whipping women into shape. Tri It For Life is a MENTORING organization. It’s about the journey to fitness, to friendships, and to finding yourself.

The Tri It For Life specializes in nurturing each woman’s goal of completing a triathlon by helping them break down barriers they often impose on themselves. New athletes are led through the training process by a band of volunteer mentors, many of whom are returning athletes who want to share the inspiration and motivation they received. They guide and encourage new triathletes at members-only swim clinics, bicycle rides and running opportunities.

Athletes don’t just learn how to compete, they receive self-reliant education about bike use and maintenance, including proper use of gears, how to change a tire, clean a bike chain and other functions of the machine. At Tri It For Life transition clinics and mock triathlons, athletes are building confidence in their ability to get out of the pool, jump on a bike, ride nine miles, jump off a bike and run two miles.

Along the way, the athletes challenge and better themselves by getting healthy, gaining self-confidence and self-esteem, developing relationships with like-minded women. Each season ends with a celebration of our success. It’s the culmination of several months of hard, dedicated work on the part of the athletes and their mentors, and a great rally as the group looks toward race day on Sunday.