Girls on the GLOW ~ Fall Registration

The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club offers a great program for young girls in our community and registration is now open for the upcoming season. 

Girls on the GLOW

Girls on the GLOWGirls on the GLOW is open to all girls in grades 1-6 and focuses on building endurance and strength as well as building character and confidence. G.L.O.W. stands for Grow, Learn, Offer, and Work, which is what the girls are expected to do at each and every practice.  The goal is for every girl to discover her inner GLOW that comes from achieving a goal, as an individual and as a team, through effort, determination and cooperation.

Practices are held weekly practices on Saturday mornings at J. Mason Tomlin Elementary School on Main Street in Mantua Township.  Throughout the year, there are special events, such as GLOW Runs, which will be held at Clearview Regional High School on Breakneck Road in Mullica Hill.  There will even be opportunities for some mother/daughter quality time on our calendar, too.  GLOW offers a spring session and a fall session.

Registration is now open!  Membership is available through the Mullica Hill Women’s Triathlon Club and the fee for membership is $30 for the Fall session.  To register,  click here.  Each participant will receive a Girls on the GLOW t-shirt, a journal, a water bottle, invitations to special events, and admission to signature GLOW Runs.

Meet Breigh Chadwick: A Woman On Wheels

She’s the 2015 New Jersey Cat 4 State Road Race Champion. She has biked 100 miles in Tennessee to raise money for diabetes research and biked 220 miles along the Shenendoah National Park for fun. Whether she’s educating our future drivers on how to share the road with cyclists, helping organize the Tour de Safety/Bike Rodeo, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, biking hundreds of miles through Spain, or racing in the criterium, Breigh Chadwick clearly lives life out loud on two wheels.

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Breigh grew up in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of the University of Delaware. While in college, her parents relocated to Mullica Hill and eventually she would follow suit, building a home in the same town. She, her husband Mike, and two children (ages 12 and 10) have lived in Mullica Hill for the past three years. She is a Registered Nurse with a former career in sales before she began her new gig as a Stay-At-Home Mom.

Shifting Gears

Although Breigh was an athlete all of her life, ironically biking was not always her thing. In fact, she was not only disinterested, but resistant to it. A competitive Division I collegiate volleyball player, Breigh was always very active and athletic. She ran, worked out, and was pretty outdoorsy. But biking? It was her husband, Mike, who had a history with cycling. When he rekindled his passion for the sport, Breigh was a bit unenthused with this new, expensive, time consuming hobby.

Mike always encouraged her to join him, but she wasn’t feeling it. “I thought it was the stupidest thing ever,” she laughs. “And, I had this irrational fear of getting hit by a car. Then, he immediately got hit by a car.”  Though Mike sustained serious injuries, he recovered completely and was back on the bike again. The whole ordeal confirmed two things in her mind: 1. biking was “dumb,” and 2. you would get hurt.

In 2012, Mike tried a different angle. He encouraged Breigh to check out the new women’s tri club in town. “I don’t swim and I don’t bike,” she thought to herself. So, she resisted the idea of a triathlon. She was a runner however, so she joined the club that year vowing to stick soley with the running events. She did everything from 5Ks to a marathon, but when she ended up suffering from a common running injury it opened the door to try something new. The Tri Club hosted a very popular, weekly group bike ride called The Rhodes’ Rides. She borrowed a quasi defective mountain bike and joined the group one evening. “I did the ride and got a beer after. It was fun,” she said.

Eventually, Breigh stopped riding the broken, borrowed mountain bike and bought a proper road bike. She signed up for our own local Queen of the Hill Sprint Tri and crushed it on the bike with very little training. Breigh may have thought the bike was “dumb,” but the problem was she was good at it. She was fast. Very, very fast.

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Wheels In Action

Next thing Breigh knew, she was joining Mike on the Nashville JDRF 100 mile ride and began doing the group rides with Action Wheels. It was there that she learned things like how to rotate group lines, pull, and follow a wheel. “That’s when I really started liking the whole group ride thing,” she says. By the end of that year, Breigh became a member of the Action Wheels Race Team, competing in road races, time trials, and criterium.

Along with her many cycling accomplishments, including the 2015 title of NJ Cat 4 Road Race State Champ, Briegh won second overall at the 2015 Queen of the Hill Spring Tri, has four Broad Street (10 miler) finishes, four half-marathon finishes, and completed one full marathon. In 2014, she relayed the Challange A.C. Full Ironman distance — a swim, bike, run totaling 140.6 miles. Briegh did the 2.4 mile swim leg, her husband did the bike leg of 112 miles, and a friend ran the marathon leg. Their relay team earned an impressive 2nd place finish!

Mike has since become an Ironman, racing the entire 140.6 miles solo, and Breigh and family were there to cheer him on! Breigh will be competing in the 2016 Half Ironman in A.C. this Fall, a triathlon totaling 70.3 miles.

Racing Forward, Giving Back

You might think that Breigh spends all of her time training and racing, but she devotes an enormous amount of time giving back to the community. She works diligently to empower young girls and women through sports. She is a coach for the Clearview Youth Volleyball organization and was a volunteer coach for several years with Girls on the GLOW. She continues to assist GLOW with special sessions. For instance, she brought the Action Wheels women’s race team to an event last year and spoke both about bike safety and opportunities for women in racing.

A member of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, Breigh assists on their Bike Safety Initiative. She and Natalie Matthias co-developed a lesson plan and teach high school Driver’s Ed students about sharing the road with cyclists. Their presentation includes what happens to cyclists when they are hit by a motorized vehicle and they explain the rules of the road for both drivers and cyclists. They have presented to Kingsway and Clearview so far this year, and plan to expand into other school districts. This outreach is critical for educating our next generation of drivers.

Breigh and Mike are also very involved in supporting JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) by raising money and participating in the Ride to Cure annually.

 Bike Safety Awareness: The Tour de Safety and Bike Rodeo

To kick off National Bike Safety Awareness Month, the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club has created an awareness ride and family-friendly bike safety education day. Breigh has been one of the behind-the-scenes forces in the creation and organization of  this incredible event.

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Held Sunday, May 15th at the 4H Fairgrounds right in Mullica Hill, the Tour de Safety and Bike Rodeo will educate families, cyclists, pedestrians and drivers all about safely navigating the roads together. The Bike Rodeo, presented by Safe Routes Mullica Hill, is geared toward young children. This fun activity will give them an opportunity to practice their bike skills and learn about safety in a fun, non-competitive environment. The venue will also have food and apparrel for sale, along with other fun things like helmet decorating.

The Tour de Safety is a non-competitive awareness ride presented by the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club. Riders can choose from three different distances: the 50-mile ride, a 25 mile ride, or a family ride of 5 miles for all adults and kids (no training wheels or big wheels, please).

Both events require registration which can be done through Active.com or at the event (just come about a half-hour in advance of the event in which you wish to participate). The Tour de Safety costs $10-$25 per rider, depending on the distance, but the Bike Rodeo is FREE.

A portion of the proceeds from this event will benefit the iCanShine Foundation, a non-profit organization providing recreational activities, instruction, and opportunity for individuals with disabilities. The remaining proceeds will be used by The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club, a 501(c)3 non-profit, for programs and initiatives that improve bike safety in our community.

 

Written by: Alicia J. DiFabio, Psy.D.

Girls on the GLOW and Teen Tri ~ Registration Info

The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club offers two great programs for young girls in our community and registration is now open for the upcoming season. 

Girls on the GLOW

Girls on the GLOWGirls on the GLOW is open to all girls in grades 1-6 and focuses on building endurance and strength as well as building character and confidence. G.L.O.W. stands for Grow, Learn, Offer, and Work, which is what the girls are expected to do at each and every practice.  The goal is for every girl to discover her inner GLOW that comes from achieving a goal, as an individual and as a team, through effort, determination and cooperation.

The participants are encouraged to attend weekly practices and take part in the various events and seminars offered throughout the season.  There will even be opportunities for some mother/daughter quality time on our calendar, too.  GLOW offers a spring session and a fall session.

Registration is now open!  Membership is available through the Mullica Hill Women’s Triathlon Club and the fee for membership is $30 for the spring session.  To register,  click here.  Each participant will receive a Girls on the GLOW t-shirt, a journal, a water bottle, invitations to our special events, and admission to our signature GLOW Runs.

Teen TriTeen Tri

Teen Tri is also a facet of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club and is a program designed to empower young women in grades 7-12.  The club provides training opportunities for traditional athletes who are looking to do a triathlon but also provides activities and events for non-traditional athletes who are more interested in having fun and simply being active.  Teen Tri wants to show that being a girl means you can do anything.  It is a great organization that helps to create strong athletes, strong friendships and strong women.

Teen Tri membership is $25 for the year.  Each member will get a MHWTC tee shirt and an invitation to all rides, runs, swims and special events throughout the year. Teen Tri registration is now open for 2016.

A Teen Tri  information session will be held on Monday, February 29th at 6:30 at Clearview High School in the LGI.  Click here to RSVP for this event. To register for Teen Tri, click here.

For additional information on either program or to lend your support as a mentor please contact Dina Strachan at dina@mhwtc.com. 

 

Meet Jen McCarthy: Catch Her If You Can

Chances are, if you live in Mullica Hill you have heard the name Jen McCarthy. For those who don’t know her, she is usually referred to as: “That woman who wins all the races,” or “You know, the one who is really fast.” But, there is more to Jen McCarthy than her exceptional speed and endurance in running, swimming and cycling. To know Jen McCarthy is to know a devoted, busy mother of four, a practicing nurse, and an active member of the community. And yes, she also wins a lot of races.

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In between the laundry, chauffering four kids around to various activities, working, volunteering, and running a household, Jen McCarthy somehow manages to find the time for something she truly loves — running.  This four time marathon finisher, winner of countless road races, and two-time champion of the Mullica Hill’s own sprint triathlon, Jen does not just love running; she is pretty darn exceptional at it. (And, obviously, at cycling and swimming too.) With all of her fitness acumen and achievements, her humility and ‘down to earth’ personality prevent her from getting anywhere close to bragging. It’s everyone else who brags for her because, quite frankly, we are in awe.

Going The Distance

Jen has been living in Mullica Hill with her husband and four children for the past eight years. She grew up in Bucks County and received her BSN degree (Bachelors in Nursing) from Indiana University in Pennsylvania. It was in college where she developed her love for running… though it was by default.

Jen started off as a distance swimmer, not a runner. She swam all through highschool and during her freshman year at college.  Mid-way through her sophomore year, the rigors of her nursing program and some coaching differences lead her to step down from the team. To stay active, she took up running with a friend. They would go out for jogs together and continued to add more  mileage to their runs. Immediately, she loved it. “I remember we had run two miles and we were so excited!” Jen says. They continued running together until her friend, who was a year older, graduated. Even then, they continued to stay in touch and run.

After they heard that Oprah ran a marathon, they were inspired. “We thought – if Oprah did a marathon, we can do it too!” They trained separately, then ran the Philadelphia marathon together in November of 1995. Since then, Jen has competed in about a dozen half-marathons and three additional marathons: The Harrisburg Marathon (where she qualified for Boston) in 2012, the Boston Marathon in 2013 and the New York Marathon in 2014.

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Running just seems to be in her soul.  Though she wouldn’t say it because she is modest, Jenn is fast. “I don’t really look at the stats of the races,” she says. “For me, I love the sport and I never want to get too wrapped up in my times.” She will only say, quite humbly, “I am faster now than I was [in the past], for sure. I’ve always been more of that distance person.”

Reigning Queen

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A strong triathlete who has stood on the podium many times in many races, she only really stumbled upon triathlons four years ago when the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club formed. “I had only done one triathlon prior to joining the tri club… probably in 2000 or 2001,” Jen says. She and her husband had decided to do one together at the encouragement of a neighbor. They were both strong swimmers and Jen loved to run, so it seemed like a fun challenge. “As far as the bike went, I had a mountain bike and I put road tires on it. I liked it,” she says. Then laughs “We had no idea what we were doing!”

It wasn’t until the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club started up here in town that Jen thought about doing a triathlon again. She attended the kick-off meeting, trained, and did the Parvin Triathlon her first year and SheROX in Philadelphia the second year. She’s placed in her age group in several triathlons including the Athleta Girl Tri last summer. She won first place overall female in the North East Olympic Triathlon in Maryland, won the Queen of the Hill Sprint Triathlon in 2012 and 2014 and came in second in 2013.

“I don’t really do a lot of races,” Jenn says, remarking that her race calendar is not nearly as full as other women she knows. “There are some races I really enjoy doing like Broad Street and the Philly Rock and Roll Half and the Pitman Fourth of July 4-miler,” she says. Jen also rides with Team Amanda’s Angels on the ‘MS City To Shore’ charity bike ride every year she can. “It’s hard to do too many [races] because the kids are so busy.” Her children, two girls ages 12 and 9, and two boys ages 7 and 5, are involved in a number of sports and extra-curricular activities and this certainly keeps the entire family busy!

Community Contributions

Jen marries her love of fitness with her passion for helping better her community. Together with community members Dina Stratchen and Jayne Gandy, Jen helped co-create a program specific for young girls that blends character development and fitness. They called it “Girls On The GLOW” and approached the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club to see if they would include it as an off-shoot of the club. They happily agreed and backed it 100%.

Modeled after a popular national program called ‘Girls on the Run,’ Girls on the GLOW has been described as “Girl Scouts with an athletic component.” When the program launched about three years ago, 100 girls between first and 6th grade registered! Along with their Saturday morning meetings, GLOW offers special events like workshops, fun events with Moms, parties and fun evening “GLOW runs” with glow-in-the-dark hairspray and face paint. Jen has been actively involved as a volunteer coach or helping with special events with the program ever since.

Jen also volunteers as one of the race organizers for the Brian Ballard Memorial Tri, Du and Splash and Dash held at the Brookside Swim Club in Glassboro. The money they raise goes toward a scholarship for a Brookside swimmer and another portion goes to a charity. This year, it was the NJ Special Olympics. “2013 was the first year it was a tri,” Jen says about the expansion of the race events offered that day. “The best part is the amount of kids we get. For them to be able to participate is my favorite part.”

To further involve her children in community service, Jen signed up her family to participate in a young philanthropy group called Our Children Making Change this summer. “I wanted to do that because I always did GLOW with the girls, but this way the boys could be involved too.” The group raised money by holding several fundraising events this summer in support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the NJ Special Olympics.

Her experience with organizing community events influenced her career decisions as well. After working as a NICU nurse for many years at Children’s in Pittsburg, Children’s in Philadelphia (CHOP) and Virtua, Jen decided to try something different when she re-entered the workforce. “After doing GLOW and more community events, I decided to steer more toward public health,” she says. She began a new job working as a nurse for the Salem Couty Department of Health coordinating the NJ CEED Program. This program provides cancer screenings, blood pressure and glucose screenings for the uninsured.

 Jen McCarthy is more than a runner. More than a triathlete. She is a role model to both women and young girls. She brings a passion and positive energy to everything she does, giving back ten fold to our community.

“Run The Hill” Brings Glenn Close to Mullica Hill and Raises Awareness about Mental Illness

Glenn Close

A-list, award winning actress Glenn Close recently spent the weekend in Mullica Hill. She ate dinner at Rode’s Fireside Restaurant, stayed overnight at Glassboro’s new Courtyard Marriott, woke up to a cup of Crescent Moon coffee and kicked off the First Annual Run the Hill 5 and 10 Miler at Heritage Vineyards.

How did this all happen?  Only a force like the Mullica Hill Women’s Triathlon Club could have been behind it.

Glenn Close with MHWTC

The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club Supports Bring Change 2 Mind

Four years ago, Glenn Close co-founded Bring Change 2 Minda non-profit organization aimed at reducing the stigma and discrimination against people living with mental illness. Glenn’s sister, Jessie Close, lives with Bipolar Disorder and her nephew is diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Jessie is not only Glenn’s inspiration but is also very active in the organization, bravely sharing her story. Bring Change 2 Mind helps educate and raise awareness about mental illness via a national anti-stigma campaign which involves public service announcements and speaking circuits.

The  Mullica Hill Women’s Triathlon Club (MHWTC) is a non-profit organization that helps women achieve their fitness goals and find their inner athlete. The group was founded by Mullica Hill Moms Colleen Fossett, Michelle Powell, Lydia DelRosso and Maureen Brigham four years ago. They have grown from a handful of women training for their first triathlon to almost 800 female members. What makes this tri club unique is their co-commitment to both fitness and charity.

Glenn Close

Each year the MHWTC  selects a cause with relevance to their community and members then identify a specific charity to and raise money for. They accomplish this through sponsorships and various fundraising events. “This year we wanted to bring attention to mental illness, the stigma and silence surrounding it,” states DelRosso. They chose to support Bring Change 2 Mind when they adopted “Ending The Stigma Against Mental Illness” as their club’s 2013 Cause. In addition to organizing Run The Hill, they held other fundraisers such as a golf outing, comedy night, and happy hour. To raise awareness, they held two “End the Stigma” educational workshops and provided information about mental illness in a special quarterly newsletter and on their blog.

“We find that we make more impact raising awareness than raising funds,” says DelRosso. Perhaps, but the numbers are impressive nonetheless. The MHWTC presented Bring Change 2 Mind with a check for an impressive $20,000. They also raised additional monies that stayed locally. That was donated to Robin’s Nest, a local non-profit providing mental health and behavioral services to children and families living in South Jersey.

The MHWTC was recently honored by Mayor Lou Manzo with a Proclamation recognizing their dedication to ending the stigma against mental illness and the overall betterment of our community.

Run The Hill To End The Stigma : More Than Just A Pretty Race

If you braved the early morning cold and a hilly but gorgeous running course, you had the great luck to hear Glenn Close say a few words about Bring Change 2 Mind, co-perform the National Anthem and start the race! Run The Hill was the perfect opportunity to showcase our beautiful town and all the local businesses that make our community so special.

Glenn CloseThe event itself was a huge success, drawing over 350 runners and their many supporters to Mullica Hill for an athletic challenge and fun with friends. The course consisted of three miles of trail running through the vineyard, something that should be on every runner’s bucket list according to one of the race volunteers. The rest of the route meandered through the back farm roads. The family-friendly “after party” was complete with live music, seasonal foods donated by local farm stands and eateries and complimentary classic wine tasting of Heritage’s remarkable selection.

Run the HillMullica Hill Mom Jayne Gandy took top prize in the 5-miler as the first place female! Many other Mullicaill Moms competed, several placing for their age groups (View Official Race Results Here). Entire families volunteered at the water and cheering stations throughout the course.

The MHWTC hopes this race will help make strides in decreasing the misconceptions surrounding mental illness and promote more discussion. “Silence helps perpetuate the stigma surrounding mental illness,” says Kate Conneen, member of the race committee. “People don’t want to talk about it because they’re uncomfortable, but we need to.”

The First Annual Run The Hill highlighted all the things this town embodies — community, family, friends, charitable hearts, local support, teamwork, fitness and of course FUN.

- By Alicia DiFabio

*SEE SLIDESHOW HIGHLIGHTS FROM GLENN AND JESSIE CLOSE’S WEEKEND IN MULLICA HILL AT BRING CHANGE 2 MIND’S PHOTO GALLERY*

Learn more about the Tri Club’s mission, their charity and get involved HERE

Take the pledge to end the stigma against mental illness HERE

Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club Kickoff and Raffle

The Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club will hold their 2013 Kickoff and Raffle on Monday, Feb. 11 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Masso’s Crystal Manor, 210 Delsea Drive South (Rt 47) Glassboro, NJ.

Mullica Hill Women's Tri Club Kickoff

Who is invited?  current members, new members and those who want to be members.  Women who are nervous, confident, scared or tired of being tired.  Mommys, grandmoms, sisters, neighbors, friends, single women, married women, divorced women, widowed women.  Women who have just had a baby, women who have raised their babies.  Women who never played a sport, women who love sports.  Women who like to win raffles.  Women who are 20-70 years old.  Women who are out of shape.  Women who are survivors.  Women who need a friend.  Women who want to be a friend.  Women willing to give something new a “tri.”  No experience necessary.

The massive raffle will include over 90 amazing baskets!!   Raffle tickets will be sold that night.  $20 for one sheet of 20 and $40 for three sheets of 20 (60 tix).

Visit the Tri Club website site for more membership information.

Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club Rocks the 1/2 Marathon

Mullica Hill Women's Tri Club

Congratulations to all of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club members who participated in the  Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon this weekend!  An accomplishment to be proud of – way to go!

Congrats!

Congratulations to all of our Mullica Hill Moms who participated in the Queen of the Hill Triathlon yesterday. Way to go! What an amazing event presented by the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club!