Share This Story


View Another
Letter to the Editor


Lorraine Austin, Executive Director, Friends of the Shiawassee River

1:39 pm

Independent Editor,

   The Friends of the Shiawassee River would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who took part in the very first Shi~Tri triathlon event on May 23 and to say how very proud we are to live in a community that supports such a positive endeavor. 

   With approximately 140 triathletes from all over Michigan (and as far away as Tennessee), almost 100 volunteers – and a wide variety of cheering, enthusiastic spectators – the Shi~Tri was the brainchild of Friends’ board member Brianna Carroll, owner/operator of the Fitness Coliseum. The idea was born from discussions that started in 2018 between she and then Chamber CEO Jeff Deason as a way to encourage both local and visiting athletes to engage in a fun, healthy activity that celebrated the river and participation at any level. 

   The event was marketed for those who wanted to “run, paddle and bike” or “stroll, float and coast.” Tri-athletes began the race with a staggered start (to respect COVID-19 restrictions) – with those who were more competitive taking off in one of the first three heats. Others, who were there for more of a personal accomplishment, began later. Since all participants wear timing bands, the staggered start was no obstacle to Newton Timing and Race Services, whose technology allowed participants to check their splits and finish numbers in real time.

   From most everyone’s perspective, this first Shi~Tri event was a huge success and plans are already being made to host the second annual in May of 2022. We certainly couldn’t have done it without 17 generous business sponsors, all of the dedicated race participants, the amazing volunteers who really put in their all to be knowledgeable, helpful, hard-working and most notably enthusiastic even on a very hot/humid day and those who showed up just to show their appreciation. Of course, we want to surely raise a glass to Brianna and her stalwart staff at the Fitness Coliseum for keeping us all on the right course.

   Those of you who know me personally or are connected to our organization, know that I will be stepping down from my part-time staff position within the next month so that the Friends can take on a new, full-time executive director to lead the charge. It’s tremendously satisfying to know that in our 25th year in existence, we continue to expand, both geographically and programmatically and prosper even through the past year’s challenges. I am honored to have served the Friends over the years and encourage all of you to join me in offering your time, talent and/or treasure for the benefit of all who hold the Shiawassee River dear.

Lorraine Austin, Executive Director

Friends of the Shiawassee River

Lorraine Austin, Executive Director, Friends of the Shiawassee River was last modified: June 8th, 2021 by Karen Elford