STAMFORD, Conn. – Kids In Crisis employees Michael Ferguson, Jasmine Gorey and Claudia Smith will leap into new roles for the organization Sunday morning. The workers at the Cos Cob children’s service agency will compete in the KIC It Triathlon beginning at 6:30 a.m. at Cummings Beach in Stamford.
Ferguson has worked at Kids In Crisis since 1991, and this is the fifth year he will take part in the triathlon. He runs the final 6.2-mile leg of the Olympic distance triathlon as part of a relay team.
“Kids In Crisis is a huge part of my life,’’ Ferguson said. “Being able to participate for the cause is a great way to give back.”
Ferguson is the director of quality assurance, evaluation and training for Kids in Crisis, which provides free round-the-clock crisis counseling and temporary shelter for infants, children and teens. Ferguson will keep those children in mind during his run.
“There are kids that will be part of what I think about,’’ said Ferguson, a recreational runner whose only competition each year is the triathlon. “There are a few that are special. They just jump inside my head.”
Gorey is competing in triathlon for the first time, also on the running leg as part of a relay. “I used to do races a hundred years ago,’’ said Gorey, who joined Kids In Crisis earlier this year. “The triathlon was a good motivator to get back into it.”
She said her primary goal is to finish. “I’m not the fastest runner,’’ she said. “We have a great team, though. Hopefully they can carry me. It’s just going to be a great day.”
Smith is the only Kids in Crisis worker attempting all three legs of the event, which also includes a 1.5-kilometer swim and a 40-kilometer (24.8-mile) bike ride. She has run marathons, but this will be her first triathlon.
“My daughter was very ill in December, and the organization helped me a lot at the time get through it,’’ she said. “I’m not going for time. I just want to finish it and have fun.”
In just its fifth year, the triathlon has become a huge part of the Stamford recreational sports landscape. The number of finishers has steadily increased each year, with 241 finishers in 2008. Registration was capped this year, with more than 600 contestants entered for Sunday’s race. A kids triathlon scheduled for Saturday also sold out.
“The growth is amazing,’’ Ferguson said. “It was a risky undertaking when it was first launched. It’s a credit to our board of directors that got on board with it. It will only get bigger. It’s important for the city of Stamford, it has become a big part of the sports scene.”