As part of Men’s Health Week 2015 we take a look back at a unique athletic club that is breaking down barriers and saving lives – Welcome to the TriLatino Training Club
Olympic runs, triathlons, Iron Man competitions – these endurance events that combine biking, swimming and running in one shot – are not for the faint of heart. Yet Latino tough guys are barely seen amongst their ranks of competitors. That is until TriLatino came along.
TriLatino Training Club, a New York City-based non-profit, was formed in 2009 after its founding members saw the lack of ethnic diversity in the sport and the poor health people in the Latino community were in. “We started TriLatino to alleviate the health disparities and problems we saw – high rates of diabetes and obesity [among them] – and to create a presence of Latinos in the sport,” says Jose Stevenson, Vice-President and Director of Youth Development and Outreach who co-founded the group.
The 180-member club started out modestly. “It was a group of six of us,” Stevenson recalls of their humble beginnings. “We thought if we had a team of 20 it would be a success. We finished the year with a team of 40.”
TriLatino has become a movement all its own that’s grown exponentially every year since it began. With a group that’s 60% Latino and is split between men and women, everyone – Latinos and non-Latinos alike – have joined their cause. “To be a member we like to say you just have to have a ‘little bit of salsa’ in your soul,” Stevenson says of the multicultural brood he considers family. The best part is anyone, from beginners to hardcore competitors, is welcome.
The response to the club has been encouraging.
“The triathlon community has been receptive to the idea, especially white male triathletes who said we need to show the world [these events aren’t] just for rich white men,”
Stevenson says. He explains that on average 88% of those who compete in these events make an average income of $111,000 a year and less than 3% are Latino.