Why the brown-out? Stevenson believes cultural norms play a role. “The sports we’re into are baseball, boxing,” Stevenson says. Tri-Latino Junior Team, a group of Bronx high school students, is their answer to engraining healthy lifestyles and a new generation of endurance athletes into the community. He recommends it as a sport because, “It’s a great healthy lifestyle that you can ease into.”
Still, resources are an issue.
“There’s nowhere [to train] and financially, there are huge barriers of entry; a bike, shoes, clothes, wet suit, registration fees. It adds up to five digits quick.”
This is why the group, which is operated by volunteers and fundraises for expenses, keeps its fees low. Stevenson, a Puerto Rican Bronx native, turned to endurance events largely thanks to his father’s example. “(My father) was diagnosed with advanced stage prostate cancer when I was in high school,” he recounts. “He was told he had two years to live. Primarily through exercise and diet, he beat it.”
With that as inspiration, Stevenson got serious about his physical health and decided to do a triathlon in 2006. His mistake, he says, was trying to train himself for his first major event. “It was an epic fail,” he says laughing. The following year he joined Team in Training where he met his fellow TriLatino co-founders. When he was asked to help form the group his busy schedule made him resist but he says he couldn’t get the idea out of his head.
“I loved the idea of a tri-athlete club with a greater, larger purpose besides training.”